A Richland restaurant owner has agreed to pay 30 employees $175,000 in back pay and overtime wages.
An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor's wage and hour division into the Great Wall Buffet found that 30 employees -- cooks, kitchen workers, dish washers and waiters -- were paid a fixed salary of $780 to $2,500 a month depending on their job. That averaged out to an hourly rate of $2.93 to $8.74.
They worked six days a week averaging 10 to 12 hours a day and weren't compensated for overtime, according to a release from the Department of Labor.
Officials with the agency's wage and hour division in Seattle could not be reached Tuesday about the agreement. And Tong DeChen, who owns the restaurant, declined Tuesday to talk about the case.
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The Fair Labor Standards Act requires covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and receive overtime at one and a half times their regular rate of pay for hours worked beyond 40 a week. Employers also must maintain accurate time and payroll records.