A Houston area Chinese restaurant was ordered to pay its cooks back pay totaling $106,573 after labor law violations were discovered. According to a recent news release, the restaurant only paid its cooks a set salary without regard to the actual number of hours worked. The long hours worked resulted in wages that came out to less than the Texas minimum wage amount of $7.25. The release noted that employees at the restaurant normally worked up to 66 hours per week.
The restaurant's ownership also allegedly shorted waiters on their pay and failed to keep accurate hours-worked and payroll records. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) stipulates that employees who earn tips must be paid an hourly base rate of at least $2.13 an hour. Employers must make up the difference if their employees' pay does not work out to at least the minimum wage with tips included.
All non-exempt employees are required by federal law to be paid the minimum wage plus time-and-a-half for time worked over 40 hours. Employers are also required to maintain thorough records of their non-exempt employees' hours worked and pay. The restaurant has since installed a time-clock in order to ensure that both hours and pay are calculated and recorded accurately.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous restaurant owners will knowingly short their workers' wages in order to gain an advantage in what can be a highly competitive business. Such unlawful practices hurt law-abiding businesses as well as the shorted employees since those businesses that play by the rules are placed at an economic disadvantage by those who do not. Texas employees who believe that they are not being paid the federally mandated minimum wage or who work more than 40 hours with no overtime pay will find it in their best interests to seek outside professional advice and assistance from those who are both knowledgeable and experienced in matters of labor law.
Source: chron.com, "Katy Chinese restaurant must pay $107,000 in back pay to cooks," Carol Christian, July 18, 2013