More Than $1 Million to be Paid in Back Wages, Interest and Penalties for FLSA Violations by Restaurant Chain

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent judgment in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordering the restaurant chain Manna's to pay a total of $956,482 in back wages and liquidated damages to 85 low-wage workers following an investigation by the department's Wage and Hour Division. The restaurant chain, owned by Betty Park, Kenny H. Kim and Andrew Kim, will also pay $31,952 in post-judgment interest and $39,737 in civil money penalties to the department because of the repeated and willful nature of the violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Investigations by the division's New York City District Office found widespread violations by the restaurants of the FLSA's minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping requirements. Specifically, the restaurants paid cooks, dishwashers and cashiers flat salaries for all hours worked instead of paying them overtime at time and one-half their regular rates of pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek, as the law requires.

To ensure that the restaurant chain complies with the terms of the judgment, the department has secured a lien on property in Palisades Park, N.J., owned by defendant Park. If the defendants fail to make scheduled payments, the court can appoint a receiver to ensure that the judgment's terms are met.

In addition to paying the back wages owed, the restaurant chain agreed to maintain future compliance with the FLSA. The restaurants will post FLSA posters in English and any other languages spoken by employees and will inform employees of the terms of the judgment in a language they understand.

The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time and one-half their regular rates for every hour they work beyond 40 per week. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. The FLSA provides that employers that violate the law are, as a general rule, liable to employees for back wages and liquidated damages payable to the workers.

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