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Hale Vietnam fined again for stiffing workers on overtime, tips

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The owners of a Vietnamese restaurant in Kaimuki were fined by the U.S. Department of Labor for the second time in eight years after they kept a portion of employees’ tips and failed to pay overtime wages totaling nearly $60,000.

According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division, federal investigators found the owners of Hale Vietnam “restaurant kept a portion of employees’ tips and failed to pay overtime wages, both violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

“The employer paid overtime hours in cash without premium pay and illegally pocketed some of the tips employees earned. The employer also altered time records to conceal the illegal practice,” according to a statement from USDOL.

Labor investigators recovered $59,468 in overtime back wages and tips and $59,468 in liquidated damages for 14 employees.

“Tips earned by workers are their property and no one else’s. Federal law forbids employers from pocketing any portion of workers’ tips and from withholding earned overtime pay,” said Terence Trotter, Wage and Hour District director in Honolulu, in a statement. “We urge restaurant employers and employees to contact us to discuss any questions about the Fair Labor Standards Act’s wage and tip requirements.”

It is the second set of violations of federal labor laws by Hale Vietnam.

In 2015, federal agents recovered $10,786 in overtime back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages for 17 employees to resolve similar infractions by the employer.

Hale Vietnam was closed on Monday.

Employers and workers can contact the Wage and Hour Division at its toll-free number, 1-866-4-US-WAGE.

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