Following a federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Cerritos, Calif., based sushi and ramen restaurant chain Gatten Sushi, as well as its sister company GTN, has been ordered to pay more than $620,000 in back wages and damages.
Gatten Sushi, which employs approximately 400 employees across 11 different restaurants in both Los Angeles and Orange counties, was found guilty of a number of different Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations. Some of the FLSA violations noted by the investigation varied from shaving hours on employees’ timecards to help reduce paychecks to even regularly docking employee pay for taking 10-minute breaks. Many of the sushi chefs working for Gatten Sushi stayed on the clock for more than 90 hours per week without receiving any form of overtime compensation.
“This employer’s failure to pay legally earned wages hurts the workers, their families and restaurant owners who play by the rules,” said Ruben Rosalez of the Department of Labor’s San Francisco office.
First established in 1938, the FLSA was responsible for establishing a national minimum wage, guaranteed time-and-a-half for overtime in certain jobs, ensured proper break times and set other important labor laws Americans recognize today. However, many restaurants attempt to get around these labor laws by threatening their workers’ job security for speaking to upper management. As a result, travesties such as this go unnoticed by labor officials for far too long.
Gatten Sushi and GTN are now responsible for paying out $621,000 in back wages and damages to its chefs, servers and kitchen staff. The two companies have already paid out $156,640 in civil penalties for their misdeeds.