- A Fort Myers restaurant made its 75 servers share their tips with its chefs, owners, and managers, the DOL said.
- The sushi restaurant repaid staff $262,000 after the DOL uncovered a number of labor-law violations.
- The restaurant’s manager told The Fort Myers News-Press that it was “all cleared up now.”
A Florida sushi restaurant has repaid $262,000 to staff after a federal investigation uncovered a number of labor-law violations, including requiring servers to share their tips with their superiors.
Ginza Japanese Restaurant in Fort Myers made its 75 servers share their tips with its chefs, owners, and managers, the US Department of Labor said in a press release.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are not allowed to require their staff to share their tips with supervisors, managers, and business owners. The DOL says that Ginza’s practice invalidated its tip pool. Under the Act, employers who claim a tip credit to top up servers’ wages must allow them to keep their own tips unless the company has a tip pooling arrangement “limited to employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.”
An investigation by the DOL’s Wage and Hour Division also found that the restaurant was unable to account for $22,000 in tips it had withheld and had no records to prove those tips were paid to servers or any other employee. Employers who take a tip credit are required by the FLSA to keep records of how much servers receive in tips and how much they take home.
In addition, the restaurant had failed to pay correct wages to dual-occupation workers who had two separate roles at the company, the DOL said.
The DOL recovered $262,322 in back wages and liquidated damages for workers affected by the FLSA violations.
Ginza did not respond to Insider’s request for comment. Manager Joshua Salinas told The Fort Myers News-Press that this happened a year and a half ago and was “all cleared up now.”
“Tips are the property of the employees who earn them. No employer has the right to keep any tips unless they are given directly to the manager who directly serves a customer,” Nicolas Ratmiroff, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director for Tampa, Florida, said in a statement.