The U.S. Department of Labor announced on Nov. 12 that Redmond Herbal Spas LLC, Asian Miracle Massage, and Mei Zheng, also known as Margaret Sutton, individually and as owner of three area spas, were ordered by a federal judge to pay 23 massage therapists $67,768 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages, to total $135,536.
The order follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which found that Redmond Herbal Spas misclassified employees who worked as massage therapists, classifying them instead as independent contractors. The company typically paid them on a commission-only basis, resulting in violations of the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA requires that covered, nonexempt employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates for time worked beyond 40 hours per week.
“Employees worked long hours and did not receive the legally required minimum wage and overtime,” said Donna Hart, director of the Wage and Hour Division’s Seattle District Office. “These employees were unlawfully treated as independent contractors and denied basic employment rights.”
The employees worked at a spa in Redmond under the name of Redmond Herbal Spa. The employees also worked at locations in Northgate Mall in Seattle and Everett Mall in Everett, which offers massage services under the name of Asian Miracle Massage. The Redmond and Everett locations have closed. (end)