Sam Woo, a restaurant based in San Diego, California, will pay 18 employees $192,622 in back wages and liquidated damages for violating provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Department of Labor investigators discovered that Sam Woo paid cooks on a salary basis regardless of the number of hours they actually worked. This practice resulted in overtime violations when those employees worked more than 40 hours in a week and were not paid overtime. Sam Woo also paid servers and food prep workers straight time for their overtime hours. The restaurant kept two sets of timecards – one for the first 40 hours of work, paid by check, and the second for any additional hours, paid in cash, to hide that employees worked overtime.
“Employers must pay employees the wages they have legally earned for all the hours they have worked,” said a spokesperson of the Department of Labor. “Other employers should use the resolution of this case as an opportunity to review their own pay practices to ensure that they are paying workers in compliance. We remain committed to educating employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities so that violations can be avoided, and that employers compete on a level playing field.”