SAINT GEORGE, S.C. (WCBD)- A Mexican restaurant in Saint George, S.C. owed some employees more than $38,000 after allowing them to work off-the-clock without pay, a U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) investigation found.

The agency’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $77,000 in back pay and damages for 17 workers at Armando’s on Memorial Boulevard.

According to the Labor Dept., Armando’s allowed employees to perform work before their scheduled shift time or after their shift ended and failed to pay overtime for all hours over 40 in a workweek — both are violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

“Restaurant workers are some of the community’s lowest-paid workers. When employers fail to pay these workers all of their legally earned wages, workers and their families find it harder to make ends meet,” Wage and Hour District Director Jamie Benefiel in Columbia, South Carolina said. “Illegally withholding wages also give employers an unfair advantage over their law-abiding competitors.”

The investigation also found that the restaurant failed to keep “complete and accurate” records of the number of hours worked by employees.