Please note: As of January 20, 2021, information in some news releases may be out of date or not reflect current policies.

News Brief

Lawsuit seeks unpaid wages and damages for employees of Yakima, Washington Sunshine Motel Inn

US Labor Department alleges employer denied minimum wage, overtime

Date of Action: Nov. 18, 2015

Type of Action: Fair Labor Standards Act Lawsuit

Names of Defendants: Sunshine Motel Inn LLC; and Rajiv Sauson, an individual

Allegations: The U. S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division lawsuit alleges that Sunshine Motel Inn and its manager, Rajiv Sauson, willfully and repeatedly failed to pay their employees the federal minimum wage and overtime for hours worked after 40 in a work week. The suit also alleges that the employer failed to maintain and make employees' payroll records available to investigators, in violation of the recordkeeping provisions of the FLSA. The case is being litigated by the department's Regional Solicitors' office.

The allegations are based on an investigation that found Sunshine Motel and Rajiv Sauson provided falsified time and payroll documents to the Wage and Hour Divisions' investigators. The investigation also showed that the employer provided some employees with a room to live in at the motel in lieu of pay. Other employees were given a room plus a small cash amount as payment for hours worked. The fair market value of the rooms provided was not sufficient to cover the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 per hour, for all the hours worked by employees, who worked up to 91 hours per week.

Resolution: The lawsuit seeks payment of the minimum wage and overtime compensation due plus an equal amount in liquidated damages. It also seeks to enjoin the company and its manager from violating the FLSA in the future.

Quote: "This employer has a longstanding business model of not paying his employees the minimum and overtime wages federal law requires, often paying no wages at all," said Janet Herold, the department's Regional Solicitor. "We are seeking a court order requiring the company and its manager to pay unpaid wages and damages, and prohibiting the employer from future violations of the FLSA. This lawsuit demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that workers receive every penny they have rightfully earned. Other employees being paid in this manner should call the Wage and Hour Division."

Court: U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, Yakima Division

Docket Number: 1:15-cv-3197-RMP

Information: The FLSA allows the reasonable cost or fair value of board, lodging, or other facilities to be considered as part of the wages paid to an employee only where customarily furnished to the employee. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered, non-exempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as one and one-half times their regular rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights and requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours, and other conditions of employment.

For more information about federal wage laws administered by the Wage and Hour Division, employers as well as employees are encouraged to call the agency's toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Callers are not required to identify themselves in order to get information. Services of the Wage and Hour Division are free and confidential. Information is also available at

Wage and Hour Division
December 8, 2015
Release Number
Media Contact: Leo Kay
Phone Number
Media Contact: Jose Carnevali