HONOLULU – A U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division investigation found the operator of two Hawaii restaurants denied workers overtime wages, and failed to record the hours of work for its kitchen cooks accurately, both violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Division investigators found Himalayan Kitchen LLC – operator of Himalayan Kitchen restaurants in Honolulu and in Kailua – did not pay salaried cooks the legally required overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. On average, the cooks worked 10 and a half hours per day. Payroll records also revealed that the employer paid one cook below federal minimum wage in certain weeks.
The division’s investigation led to the recovery of $40,000 in back wages plus another $40,000 in liquidated damages for five workers, and the assessment of $1,000 in civil money penalties against the employer.
“By law, employers must pay salaried cooks additional overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Terence Trotter in Honolulu. “Through this investigation, Himalayan Kitchen has learned that disregard for federal labor laws can have costly consequences. Other restaurant industry employers would be wise to review their own pay practices to prevent violations and take advantage of the many tools we offer to assist them in understanding the law.”
In fiscal year 2021, the Wage and Hour Division found more than $34.7 million in wages owed to food service workers nationwide, part of more than $230 million in back wages owed to workers nationwide. In all, division investigations helped more than 190,000 workers.
For more information about the FLSA and other laws the division enforces, contact its toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243). Learn more about the Wage and Hour Division, including a search tool to use if you think you may be owed back wages collected by the division.