BEAVERTON, OR – A Beaverton buffet restaurant may offer its customers a wide variety of selections, but a U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation found the eatery’s owner willfully failed to include legally required wage on its menu for the people who worked there.
As a result, Buffet Palace and its owner will pay $417,737 in back wages to 39 employees after investigators found minimum wage and overtime violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Specifically, the division determined the restaurant paid employees flat monthly salaries, regardless of the number of hours they worked. By doing so, Buffet Palace violated minimum wage requirements when those salaries failed to cover all the hours employees worked at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The employer committed further violations when they failed to pay overtime, in addition to the flat salaries, when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. In some workweeks, the restaurant paid employees an average of only $5 per hour.
The division also assessed a penalty against Buffet Palace for willfully providing falsified payroll information to investigators, and cited the restaurant for recordkeeping violations. In addition to the back wages owed, the owner faces $16,031 in civil penalties.
“This case sends a clear message that the Wage and Hour Division will continue to enforce the law rigorously to protect workers,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Thomas Silva in Seattle. “We will hold employers who shortchange their workers or purposefully conceal or falsify records accountable, and ensure that they pay workers the wages they have earned.”
For more information about the FLSA and other laws enforced by the division, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Information is also available at www.dol.gov/agencies/whd, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.