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US taco chain used fake priest to trick staff into confessions

US taco chain used fake priest to trick staff into confessions
Source: Pixabay

A California taco chain used a fake priest to try to get employees to confess workplace “sins” like being late for their shift, the US Department of Labor has said.

A man introduced as a minister at the Taqueria Garibaldi chain encouraged staff to unburden their consciences about when they may have done anything to harm their employer.

In litigation brought by the Department of Labor, a worker testified that the ersatz man of God had urged workers to “get their sins out,” asking if they had ever stolen from the company, or done anything to harm it.

The operator of the restaurants in Sacramento and nearby Roseville was ordered to pay 35 staff $140,000 in back wages and damages, the department said in a press release this month.

The court action came after an investigation found Taqueria Garibaldi denied employees overtime pay.

It also found managers were paid illegally from the employee tip pool and staff were threatened with “immigration consequences” if they co-operated with the Department of Labor’s investigation.

“This employer’s despicable attempts to retaliate against employees were intended to silence workers, obstruct an investigation and prevent the recovery of unpaid wages,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Marc Pilotin in San Francisco.

A spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento told the Catholic News Agency the man presented as a minister was not connected to them.

“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,” he said.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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