US Department of Labor recovers $56K for 35 employees of Los Angeles restaurant that illegally allowed manager to take portions of tips
Employer: BBQ Ookook Inc., operating as Oo-Kook Korean BBQ
3385 W. Eighth St.
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Investigation findings: An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the Koreatown restaurant employer allowed a manager to take portions of the tips left by customers, a violation of tip pool requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Investigators determined that Oo-Kook Korean BBQ allowed a manager to take part in a tip pool and determined that, from April 2021 through October 2022, they kept more than $28,000 in workers’ tips.
This is the third time the division has found this employer violated federal labor laws. Specifically, the division recovered $5,300 in back wages for 14 employees after a 2012 investigation. A 2020 investigation at another restaurant operated by the employer in La Mirada recovered $16,253 owed to one employee.
Back Wages Recovered: $28,213 in unpaid tips for 35 employees
$28,213 in liquidated damages for 35 employees
Civil Money Penalties: $10,103 in civil money penalties given the employer’s history of violations
Quote: “Restaurant employers are responsible for ensuring that workers receive all the wages they earn, including tips,” said Wage and Hour Division Assistant District Director Siriporn Poondee in Los Angeles. “We encourage all employers in this industry to use the online tools we offer to help them comply with the law or to call us for assistance.”
Background: This investigation is the result of the department’s cross-regional Food Services Workers Initiative, which aims to advance workplace equity and reach essential workers through collaboration with local stakeholders. The agency’s outreach and collaboration with the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance played a critical role in the investigation’s successful conclusion.
The department’s Quick Service Restaurants Compliance Assistance Toolkit explains wage laws for the industry. Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division.