US Department of Labor investigation recovers more than $150K in back wages, damages for 13 Tampa restaurant workers
TAMPA, FL – Restaurant workers who prepare and serve sushi take great care to provide their customers a great experience. A recent investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor found the operator of one Tampa sushi restaurant less than careful in how it paid wages to 12 kitchen workers and a manager.
An investigation by the department’s Wage and Hour Division has recovered $150,749 in back wages and liquidated damages for workers to resolve minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act by KS Japanese Food Service LLC, which operates as Matoi Sushi on N. Dale Mabry Highway.
Investigators determined Matoi Sushi paid workers flat salaries, regardless of the number of hours they worked each workweek. By doing so, the employer violated overtime laws when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. Minimum wage violations occurred when those flat salaries failed to cover all the hours employees worked at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Some workers took home less than $6 per hour. In addition, investigators found a kitchen manager was due overtime back wages because the worker’s salary of $230 per week fell far short of the required minimum of $684 per week to qualify for the overtime exemption for salaried managers.
“These workers rely on receiving all the wages they have legally earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Nicolas Ratmiroff in Tampa, Florida. “Employers may elect to pay workers on any schedule they choose – weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or any other timeframe. They must, however, still track hours weekly to determine when overtime is due. They must also understand that paying workers a fixed salary does not excuse them automatically from paying overtime. We encourage anyone with questions to call us, confidentially, to speak with a trained wage and hour professional.”
The Wage and Hour Division enforces the law regardless of workers’ immigration status, and can speak with callers in more than 200 languages. For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.