Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
Archived News Release — Caution: Information may be out of date.
Date: Apr. 16, 2014
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald or Andre J. Bowser
Phone: 617-565-2075 or 617-565-2074
U.S. Department of Labor
Wage and Hour Division
Release Number: 14-238-NEW/BOS 2014-052
Long Island, NY, restaurants to pay more than $1.6 million in back wages and damages to 363 workers after US Department of Labor investigations
Employers will pay $114,737 in penalties and interest for wage and record-keeping violations
WESTBURY, N.Y. -- The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a series of consent judgments in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordering seven Long Island restaurants to pay a total of $1,693,507.22 to 363 low-wage workers, chiefly servers and kitchen employees. The restaurants will also pay $114,737.96 in civil money penalties and interest to the department for willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
“These wage recoveries, damages and fines serve as notice that the underpayment of employees is unacceptable. We will use all available tools to identify and root out such labor violations and make whole the affected workers,” said Irv Miljoner, director of the division’s Long Island office. “The violations found during these investigations are, unfortunately, all too common in this industry. We plan to continue our enforcement effort in the Asian restaurant sector and other types of restaurants where underpayment cheats both employers and workers who follow the law.”
Investigations by the Long Island District Office of the department’s Wage and Hour Division found widespread violations by the restaurants of the FLSA’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements. Specifically, the employers engaged in unlawful activities, such as paying below the federal minimum wage; paying cash off-the-books; not paying overtime; illegal tip pools; failing to pay wages to certain employees; and not keeping records of hours worked and wages paid to employees.
The restaurants are Good Taste Buffet, Commack; Kumo Sushi & Steakhouse, Stony Brook; Crystal Garden, Ronkonkoma; Nishiki, Selden; Hotoke, Smithtown; Crystal Garden Buffet, Riverhead; and Kashi Sushi & Steakhouse, Rockville Centre. A chart listing each restaurant and its back wages, liquidated damages and civil money penalties follows this news release.
The investigations were conducted under the Wage and Hour Division’s multiyear enforcement initiative, focused on strengthening labor compliance in Long Island’s restaurant industry. In addition to identifying wage violations and recovering money for underpaid workers, the initiative’s goal is to change industry behavior permanently to ensure proper compensation for all workers and a level playing field for all employers. In fiscal year 2013, initiative cases conducted by the division’s Long Island office resulted in $6.4 million in back wages for more than 1,300 workers and reflected 71 consent judgments.
The cases were litigated by the department’s Regional Office of the Solicitor in New York City.
The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time and one-half their regular rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees’ wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. The FLSA provides that employers that violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and liquidated damages payable to the workers.
For more information about the FLSA, call the Wage and Hour Division’s Long Island District Office in Westbury at 516-338-1890 or call the division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at http://www.dol.gov/whd.
Employer Restaurant Location Back Wages+Interest Damages/Pre-judgment Interest Civil Money Penalties+Interest Wei Mei RestaurantCorp. Good Taste Buffet Commack $236,939.41 $116,974.86 $8,565.48 SBKU Services Inc. Kumo Sushi & Steakhouse Stony Brook $161,031.98 $79,482.59 $30,479.68 DRMA Corp. Crystal Garden- Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma $210,210.66 $103,862.34 $6,032.44 Wasabi Japan Inc. Nishiki Selden $184,945.29 $91,761.80 $23,247.84 JTBR Corp. Hotoke Smithtown $148,647.88 $73,736.55 $18,849.60 KJSS Corp. Kashi Sushi & Steakhouse Rockville Centre $83,569.56 $41,362.08 $23,793.00 LLP Restaurant Inc. Crystal Garden Buffet Riverhead $107,585.11 $53,397.11 $3,769.92 Totals $1,132,929.89 $560,577.33 $114,737.96
Civil Money Penalties+Interest
Wei Mei RestaurantCorp.
Good Taste Buffet
SBKU Services Inc.
Kumo Sushi & Steakhouse
Wasabi Japan Inc.
Kashi Sushi & Steakhouse
LLP Restaurant Inc.
Crystal Garden Buffet
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at www.dol.gov. The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release when placing your request at (202) 693-7828 or TTY (202) 693-7755. The Labor Department is committed to providing America’s employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit www.dol.gov/compliance.