Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.
Date: May 5, 2014
Contact: Scott Allen Rhonda Burke
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 14-440-CHI
US Department of Labor investigation finds Hibachi Buffet Inc. of Minneapolis owes more than $117,000 in unpaid wages to 18 workers
MINNEAPOLIS -- Workers at the Hibachi Buffet Inc. will be paid a total of $117,152 in back wages following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. The investigation revealed violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. Kitchen workers typically worked 60 hours per week for a fixed monthly salary, often earning far less than the legally required minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
“Those who work in the restaurant industry do so for relatively low wages, making the violations uncovered here all the more egregious when considering that those who work hard and play by the rules are not paid the wages they’ve earned,” said Theresa Walls, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Minneapolis. “The Wage and Hour Division is committed to reaching workers and improving compliance in this industry.”
Investigators from the division’s Minneapolis District Office determined that the company paid kitchen workers a fixed salary that did not cover minimum wage for all hours worked. The company also failed to ensure that wait staff earned minimum wage. The company also failed to pay workers at one and one-half times their hourly rate for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek and maintain accurate and complete records of hours worked by kitchen employees.
Investigators in this case conducted interviews in several languages to obtain accurate information about hours worked and wages paid. The Wage and Hour Division is a multilingual organization, with staff fluent in nearly 50 languages and a language interpretive service that can assist with translating more than 170 languages.
Hibachi Buffet signed a settlement agreement with the department in which it agreed to install and use a digital time clock and contract with a public accounting firm to perform biannual audits of the company’s employment and pay practices.
The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Additionally, the law requires employers to maintain accurate time and payroll records, and prohibits retaliation against employees who exercise their rights under the law.
For more information about the FLSA and other federal wage laws, call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information also is available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
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