San Antonio-Based China Sea Restaurant Chain pays More than $500,000 to Settle Overtime Lawsuit

The owner of three China Sea Restaurants in San Antonio has agreed to pay more than $500,000 to nearly 100 employees after being sued for alleged violations of federal minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"). 

The San Antonio Express News reports that “[China Sea] used two books to keep track of wages, one for themselves and one for falsifying records. Their illegal actions hurt the workers’ families and our community.” One set of records sent to a bookkeeper showed compliance with federal laws, the Labor Department said, but a second set revealed the employer was not paying minimum wage for all hours worked and the overtime was not paid.

According to the report, “[k]itchen staff at the three China Sea Restaurant locations routinely worked at least 60 hours per week, but their hours were not recorded. The employer paid kitchen staff a small salary that resulted in minimum wage and overtime violations. Additionally, servers were not paid properly and were owed overtime wages,” the Labor Department said.

Unfortunately, this type of wage theft is not uncommon in the restaurant industry.