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News Brief

Wedding planner pays more than $35K in back wages and damages to 25 employees following U.S. Labor Department investigation in Hawaii

Employer: Wave USA Inc., doing business as Ka Nalu Wedding, Blue Blue Flowers

Site: Honolulu

Investigation findings: Investigators from the Wage and Hour Division in Honolulu found that eight foreign nationals from Japan entered Hawaii through an approved J-1 visa training program but were primarily employed as front-line workers without receiving at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, in violation of the Fair labor Standards Act. The employer paid them as little as $4 per hour. The employer also failed to pay the overtime premium of time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in a work week for an additional 17 local workers employed by the firm.

Resolution: The employer has paid $35,481 in back wages and damages to the employees.

Quote: "The basic minimum wage requirement under the FLSA generally applies to J-1 visa holders, and we encourage those who are working and not being paid the minimum wage or overtime to contact the Wage Hour Division if they have questions," said Terence Trotter, the division's district director in Honolulu. "Wave USA unlawfully employed J-1 visa holders as employees earning below the minimum, which took away their right to a basic minimum wage and gave the employer an unfair advantage over its competitors."

Information: Wave USA Inc. operates a wedding, bridal flowers and event-planning business. For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, call the agency's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243), or the Honolulu office at 808-541-1361. Information also is available at The J-1 non-immigrant visa category, enforced by the Department of State, is for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs.

Wage and Hour Division
March 25, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Leo Kay
Phone Number
Media Contact: Jose Carnevali