Super China Buffet, in Shoreline, and King Buffet, in Everett and Marysville, were found to owe 83 employees $420,000 in back wages and liquidated damages, according to federal labor officials.
An investigation led to the discovery that some workers were paid $10 a day, resulting in pay below the federal minimum wage.
Other workers were paid a monthly salary, even when working more than 40 hours a week. An inspection by the department’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employees were paid in cash. Pay records were nonexistent, inaccurate, incomplete, or falsified.
The buffets have agreed to pay the $420,000, which resolves a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Labor Department. The defendants also agree to pay $5,000 in civil money penalties to the government.
“Vulnerable, low-wage workers have a legal right under the FLSA to be paid the required minimum wage and overtime by their employers,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “When employees are deprived of their rightful wages, employers should know that the Labor Department will not hesitate to use all enforcement tools at its disposal, including litigation when appropriate.”
The FLSA requires that employers pay covered workers at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
For those employees who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips, employers may pay a base rate of $2.13 an hour in direct wages, if the tips cover the difference. Additionally, the FLSA requires that employees be paid one and one-half times their regular rates for hours worked over 40 in a week, unless otherwise exempt. Additionally, employers must maintain accurate time and payroll records. ♦