Two Nassau County sushi restaurants will pay $261,887 in back wages and liquidated damages to 70 workers following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD).
WHD concluded that Grand Saga Restaurant and Xaga Sushi Restaurant willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act () when they paid employees a flat monthly rate regardless of how many hours they worked. Because most employees worked 42 to 50 hours per week, they were entitled to overtime pay.
The restaurants also maintained an illegal tip pool where tipped employees were forced to split tips with the kitchen staff. Employees were frequently paid in cash and the employer failed to keep proper records of hours worked.
Note: Creative pay schemes designed to skirt the FLSA draw WHD’s ire very quickly. Employers should bring their pay policies into compliance before the DOL is at the door.