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Unfair wage treatment costs sushi restaurant owner

The U.S. Labor Department stands behind their wage and hour labor laws. Employees who worked at 11 Gatten Sushi restaurants were awarded $464,586 in back wages and damages for unfair treatment. The restaurant chain is based in Cerritos, California, but also has other locations such as Irvine and Fullerton.

The company is accused of violating the minimum wage and overtime pay laws, and not retaining records per the Fair Labor Standards Act. Civil penalties will also be paid in the amount of $156,640. According to the investigation by the Labor Department, some employees were working more than 90 hours per week and not being paid overtime pay. Employers were also alleged to have been docking employees' pay for 10-minute breaks and routinely trimming hours from employee time cards.

According to a regional manager for San Francisco's Wage and Hour Division, record-keeping violations -- when it comes to wages and overtime pay -- are common with many restaurants. Whether this is deliberate or unintentional, it is against the federal rules and regulations, and the manager hopes the outcome of this case will send "a strong message" to other restaurant owners who are cheating their employees.

Employees work hard to support their families, and no employee should be cheated of his or her just earnings. Any employee who works more than 40 hours in a work week is entitled under federal law to receive time and a half unless he or she is considered an exempt employee. Employees are also entitled to specific break periods during an eight-hour period on the job.

If you feel you are being cheated out of your rightful earnings, you should report it and seek legal help. It is unfair to you, your family or others who are working at your place of employment, if your employer is underhandedly defrauding workers out of their earned wages.

Source: The Orange County Register, "Gatten Sushi restaurant workers to get more than $450,000 in back wages," Lauren Williams, Jan. 26, 2016

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