News Release

US Department of Labor recovers $245K for 10 cooks whose employer deliberately denied overtime, minimum wages; assesses $8K in penalties

The Pho, owner Thuan Do paid affected employees flat salaries regardless of hours worked

SACRAMENTO, CA The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $245,722 in back wages and damages for 10 cooks after investigators found the owner and operator of four northern California restaurants denied them required overtime and minimum wages knowingly. 

The department’s Wage and Hour Division determined The Pho restaurants and principal owner Thuan Do understood federal wage regulations but chose to pay the affected employees a flat salary for all hours and violated minimum wage and overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The division also learned the employer fabricated payroll records and reported fewer hours for the workers to create the appearance of compliance.

The investigation at two locations in Modesto and one each in Stockton and Manteca found the employer owed the affected workers $122,861 in unpaid overtime and minimum wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages. In addition to the wage and damage recovery, the department assessed $8,330 in civil money penalties for the employer’s willful violations.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to holding employers accountable, especially when they deny employees all of their hard-earned wages deliberately,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Cesar Avila in Sacramento. “The Pho and its owner have learned that there are costly consequences for violating federal wage regulations. We urge employers unsure of their obligations to contact us for assistance to avoid compliance issues.” 

Since fiscal year 2020, the division’s Sacramento District Office has recovered more than $2 million in back wages and liquidated damages for 469 workers in the food service industry and assessed $215,081 in penalties to employers.

Workers can use the Wage and Hour Division’s Workers Owed Wages search tool to check if they are owed back wages collected by the division. Employers and workers can contact the division confidentially for help at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE (487-9243), regardless of where they are from. The division can speak with callers in more than 200 languages.

Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including the agency’s restaurant compliance assistance toolkit and an overview of FLSA protections for restaurant workers. Workers and employers alike can help ensure hours worked and pay are accurate by downloading the department’s Android and iOS Timesheet App for free in English or Spanish.

Wage and Hour Division
April 25, 2024
Release Number
Media Contact: Michael Petersen
Media Contact: Jose Carnevali
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