In California, a taco chain employs a fake priest to monitor its employees

Taqueria Garibaldi

A California taco chain has used a fake priest to surveil its employees and try to get them to confess to professional "sins" such as showing up late, according to the US Department of Labor.

The Taqueria Garibaldi brand has introduced a man presented as a pastor to its employees. The impostor worked to extort confessions from them, encouraging them to clear their conscience about possible wrongdoing in their workplace.

This subterfuge, revealed by an investigation, "is undoubtedly" one of the "most shameless" frauds discovered by the Ministry of Labor, denounced the administration in a press release in mid-June. As part of this investigation, an employee testified that the fake priest urged employees to "confess their sins", and asked if they had ever stolen from the company or done things that could harm it.

All this while the chain, which has restaurants in Sacramento and Roseville, did not pay overtime for many employees.

At the end of the investigation, a court sentenced the bosses of the company to pay 140.000 dollars in back wages and damages to 35 employees, explained the ministry. The investigation also found that restaurant managers were paid on the black list from employee tips, and that staff were threatened with "immigration consequences" if they cooperated with the Labor Department.

"The despicable attempts of retaliation by this employer against its employees were aimed at silencing the workers, obstructing the investigation and preventing the collection of unpaid wages," said the regional prosecutor of the Ministry of Labor, Marc Pilotin , in San Francisco.

A spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento told the Catholic News Agency that the man presented as a pastor had no connection to the diocese.

“Although we do not know who the person in question was, we are convinced that it was not a priest from the Diocese of Sacramento”


Editorial staff with AFP

Image credit: Shutterstock / PICTOR PICTURES

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