Restaurant owing over $5M in fines, back wages starts paying workers

DALY CITY, Calif. — Former workers at a Japanese restaurant in Daly City that was assessed more than $5 million in fines and back wages in 2018 have finally started receiving settlement checks averaging $14,217, the state Labor Commissioner’s Office said Aug. 12.

Kome Japanese Seafood and Buffet, which owed 133 workers compensation for unpaid wages, overtime and split shift premiums, closed without notice in 2019, triggering additional penalties, according to the Labor Commissioner’s Office California Labor Commissioner Lilia Garcia said in a statement Aug. 12 that the workers had “waited a long time for the wages they earned.”

The alleged violations covered by the settlement included withholding tips, failing to pay minimum wage, overtime and premiums for working a split shift and more.

The investigation revealed that 69 cooks, sushi chefs and dishwashers typically worked more than 55 hours per week but were paid a fixed salary that did not include overtime.

The Labor Commissioner’s Office, also known as the Department of Industrial Relations’ Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, in 2019 adjusted its assessment from $5.16 million to require payment of $754,950 in penalties and $3,575,433 in unpaid wages.

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