Two Washington state Chinese restaurants have agreed to pay $420,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 83 employees in order to settle a wage and hour lawsuit filed against them by the Department of Labor (DOL) that alleged several violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

According to the DOL, some waiters / waitresses were only paid $10 per day, resulting in an hourly pay rate below the $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage. In addition, kitchen workers were being paid a flat salary with no additional overtime pay, even when working over 40 hours in a week. Investigators also found many workers at the restaurants were paid in cash, and that time and pay records were nonexistent, inaccurate, incomplete or falsified.

Having now reached a settlement, following the filing of a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, Seattle, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis stated: “Vulnerable, low-wage workers have a legal right under the FLSA to be paid the required minimum wage and overtime by their employers”.

The FLSA requires that employers pay most employees at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. For tipped 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 non-exempt employees (including waiters, waitresses, cooks, kitchen staff)  be paid one and one-half times their regular rates for hours worked over 40 in a week and requires employers (not employees) to maintain accurate time and payroll records.

If you are a current or former restaurant worker (waiter, waitress, assistant manager, etc.) and believe that you may have a claim or would like to get more information, please call us at 1-866-559-0400, email us at  [email protected] or submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances.