California-based taco chain Taqueria Garibaldi used a fake priest to encourage employees to confess workplace “sins,” said the US Department of Labor.
According to the litigation brought by the US Department of Labor, an employee testified that the fake priest urged them to “get their sins out.”
“He asked if I had ever got pulled over for speeding, if I drank alcohol, or if I had stolen anything,” said Maria Parra, a server at the taco chain.
She added, “The priest asked if I had stolen anything at work, if I was late to my employment, if I did anything to harm my employer, and if I had any bad intentions toward my employment.”
The operator of the taco chain allegedly brought the fake priest after they’ve been investigated by the US Department of Labor for workplace issues.
The investigation led the department to find that the company hasn’t paid overtime pay to the employees, paid the managers from the employee tips, and threatened the employees if they coordinate with the department.
“This employer’s despicable attempts to retaliate against employees were intended to silence workers, obstruct an investigation, and prevent the recovery of unpaid wages,” Regional Solicitor of Labor Marc Pilotin in San Francisco said.
The operator has been ordered to pay $140,000 to 35 employees for back wages and damages.
As such, the Diocese of Sacramento said that the fake priest was not related to their jurisdiction.
“While we don’t know who the person in question was, we are completely confident he was not a priest of the Diocese of Sacramento,” said Bryan Visitacion, director of media and communications for the Diocese of Sacramento, to the Catholic News Agency.
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