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NY Japanese Restaurants to Pay Employees Nearly $765K for Violations of FLSA

March 1, 2012

A chain of Long Island, NY Japanese restaurants have recently agreed to compensate 161 employees $764,796 in back payment and damages, after the restaurants were found responsible for violating the minimum wage, record-keeping and overtime payment provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)--according to a recent U.S. Department of Labor report.

As Vincent Howard often reports in Howard Law's Carson, California employment lawyers blog, violations of federal labor laws are a frequent problem in California and across the country, where employees are often denied their right to fair minimum wage and overtime pay.

The wage and hour lawsuit resulted from a WHD investigation, which found that the restaurants, along with the President of the chain, Wen Chun Su, had violated the FLSA's minimum wage, record-keeping, and overtime compensation provisions since 2008. The workers were reportedly forced into an illegal tip sharing arrangement, where tipped and non-tipped employees shared tips equally, and workers were not paid the required minimum wage rates, along with overtime rates. The restaurants also failed to keep accurate pay records of employees, along with all employee work hours, and the total straight time hour earnings per week. Some employees were reportedly paid with flat rate monthly salaries, which did not address the actual hours worked, and did not meet the federal wage and hour law standards.

When the DOL engages in wage and hour investigations, the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) reportedly plans careful inspections of payroll records, with detailed interviews of employees in order to assess whether the employers are complying with all labor standards and laws. In this wage and hour investigation the WHD investigators reportedly also used forensic accounting and surveillance techniques in order to prove that employees were being compensated off the books, in order to find the actual number of hours worked by employees.

As attorney Vincent Howard discussed in a recent Santa Ana employment lawyer blog, the DOL's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently launched a wage and hour initiative, targeting restaurants on Long Island. At the end of last year, 46 restaurants were targeted, and the DOL recovered over $2.3 million in back wages for nearly 600 workers.

According the WHD's Long Island district director, the department continues to focus on compliance on restaurants in Suffolk and Nassau counties, in order to change the unlawful behavior in the industry, so that workers will receive their legally entitled right to fair pay, and so honest employers will be able operate their businesses on a level playing field of competition.

The DOL requires employers who engage in illegal payment practices that violate federal labor laws, to compensate employees back wages, as well as an equal monetary amount in liquidated damages. The wage and hour judgment states that Su and the restaurants, Tai Show Sushi, Tai Show Hibachi, Tai Show East, Tai Show West, and Tai Show North, will pay a civil money penalty amount of $62,622 plus interest to the DOL for the FLSA violations, along with the $764,796 in back wages, liquidated damages and interest.

In Escondido, Placentia, and Fontana, California, contact Vincent Howard and our team of Howard Law labor and employment attorneys and professionals today, to help you navigate your California wage and hour issue.

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

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