Sunnyvale restaurant ordered to pay workers back pay

(KTSF by Hellas Leung)

A U.S. district court judge has ruled that a buffet-style Chinese restaurant in Sunnyvale must award 32 employees a total of $201,950 in back pay and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

Judge Ronald M. Whyte approved the request of U.S. Department of Labor for a default judgment in a lawsuit against United Buffet Inc., operating as Crazy Buffet, and manager Zhou Ni after they refused to pay $44,569.63 in unpaid minimum wages and $157,380.37 in overtime compensation.
The ruling states that the restaurant has violated Fair Labor Standards Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions.

“This employer showed a complete lack of concern for its employees and for the law,” said Susana Rincon, director of the San Francisco District Office of the department’s Wage and Hour Division.

According to the Department of Labor, United Buffet issued paychecks to restaurant employees at Crazy Buffet, located at 830 E. El Camino Real, but required wait staff to return their wages, keeping only tips. Moreover, the employer did not pay for any hours worked beyond 40 in a week, although employees’ hours of work averaged 60-72 per week. The employer also falsified records of time and attendance, and pay.

The registered owner of the restaurant is Zhou Ni’s nephew, Steven X. Ni, of Torrance, who was not named in the suit.

(Copyright 2012 KTSF. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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