U.S. Department of Labor Investigation Results in Atlanta Area Restaurant Chain Paying $361,288 in Back Wages and Damages to 193 Employees
ATLANTA, GA – Five Kani House restaurants operating in the Atlanta, Georgia-area will pay $361,288 in back wages and liquidated damages to approximately 190 employees after the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a consent judgment against the employer for violating the minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The court's action follows a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division (WHD) investigation that found the restaurants, all owned by June C. Park, paid non-exempt employees flat weekly salaries, resulting in minimum wage violations when their average hourly wages fell below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. In addition, Kani House deducted a portion of the employees' salaries for uniforms, which resulted in additional minimum wage violations when the deductions caused workers' hourly wages to dip below the federal minimum wage.
Investigators also determined Kani House paid straight-time rates to tipped employees for hours they worked beyond 40 in a workweek, instead of paying them overtime at time-and-a-half for those hours, as the law requires. The employer also failed to keep accurate records of the number of hours worked by employees, resulting in a recordkeeping violation.
"The judgment in this case demonstrates the U.S. Department of Labor's commitment to ensuring that employees receive the wages they have earned for all the hours they have worked," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Eric Williams, in Atlanta. "We are also determined to ensure that employers who fail to comply with the law do not gain an unfair competitive advantage over those who do. We encourage all employers to reach out to us for guidance on how to avoid such violations."
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the Wage and Hour Division, contact the toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Employers who discover overtime or minimum wage violations may self-report and resolve those violations without litigation through the PAID program. Information is also available at https://www.dol.gov/whd.