KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The U.S. Department of Labor is taking two Kansas City-area restaurants to court over wages the government claims should have been paid to employees.

The lawsuit accused El Toro Loco Legends LLC in Kansas City, and El Toro Loco Lexena LLC in Lenexa, and general manager Eugenio Yanez and location manager Yareli Perez of underpaying employees.

Federal investigators say the kitchen staff, servers, hosts and food runners at the restaurants allegedly worked up to 66 hours a week without getting overtime pay.

Wage and Hour District Director Reed Trone tells FOX4 investigations into issues around employee pay are pretty common and they can start in a few different ways with the goal of making employees whole.

“A lot of them are vulnerable employees,” Trone said. “They’re not in a position to go out and hire an attorney and pursue it on their behalf so we want to be open.”

That’s why the Department of Labor has a hotline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) and online link to start the complaint process.

“The information that we receive from callers is kept confidential and then if we ultimately conduct an investigation, we do not disclose to the employer the reason for the investigation,” Trone said.

Employment attorney Gerald Gray II recommends:

  • tracking hourly rates and hours to confirm what you earn
  • ask employers about any discrepancies
  • consult a lawyer if further action is needed to help organize information

“You need a basic understanding of what your wages should be, what you receive per hour, how many hours you’re actually working,” Gray said.

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Trone says there are anti-retaliation provisions written into the laws that keep employers from punishing employees after complaints or investigations.