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Press Releases

U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 09-1218-ATL (326)

Date: 

Oct. 9, 2009

Contact: 

Michael D’Aquino Michael Wald

Phone: 

404-562-2076 404-562-2078

US Department of Labor recovers more than $350,000 for employees of Asian buffet restaurants in South Florida


MIAMI -- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has obtained agreement from nine Asian buffet restaurants in South Florida to pay $356,770 in back wages to 102 employees.

The agreement follows a department investigation that found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Three restaurants failed to pay workers the required federal minimum wage, while all nine restaurants failed to properly pay overtime to employees who worked more than 40 hours in a workweek.

Minimum wage and overtime violations occurred at Super Buffet King, Dynasty Buffet, and New China Buffet in Margate. The six restaurants cited with overtime violations include Kyojin Japanese Buffet; New Century China Buffet; China Buffet; Shinju Japanese Buffet in Miami, Shinju Japanese Buffet in Coral Springs; and China Buffet in Stuart.

The investigation is part of an ongoing initiative to promote compliance in the buffet restaurant industry in South Florida. Begun in 2008, the initiative will continue in the coming year. In 2008, investigation of four other Asian buffet restaurants resulted in payment of $233,234 in back wages to 55 employees.

“The Labor Department will continue to undertake these investigations to ensure that South Florida employees of labor intensive industries, such as restaurants, are being paid properly according to federal law,” said Will Garnitz, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s district office in Miami.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked and time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. Tips actually received by tipped employees may be counted as wages for purposes of the FLSA, but the employer must pay not less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages. Tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. Effective July 24, 2009, the federal minimum wage increased to $7.25 per hour.

This investigation was conducted by the Wage and Hour Division office in Miami, Sunset Center, 10300 Sunset Drive, Room 255; phone: 305-596-9874. For more information about the FLSA, call the Department of Labor’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available on the Internet at www.wagehour.dol.gov.

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U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.