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Labor Department Investigations Find Violations at Hawai?i Malls

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An initiative by the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division found overtime, minimum wage, and child labor violations by several retail mall employers in the state.

An education and enforcement initiative by the division recovered nearly $700,000 in back wages, and liquidated damages for 339 employees. It also led to the division assessing nearly $60,000 in civil penalties for child labor violations during the 2018 fiscal year.

Investigators found that more than half of businesses investigated failed to pay retail employees the required overtime when they worked beyond 40 hours in a week. Labor investigators also found that more than half of the retailers that employed minors at mall locations violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) child labor provisions when they allowed the minors to engage in work prohibited for workers under the age of 18 - such as loading or operating trash or cardboard compactors.

"The U.S. Department of Labor remains committed to educating employers and employees about their rights and responsibilities so that young workers remain safe on the job, all employees get paid what they have legally earned, and employers compete on a level playing field," said Wage and Hour Division District Director Terence Trotter.

Some of the notable results from the investigations include:

  • $239,889 to 44 employees after investigators found that six Ramen-Ya restaurant locations in Honolulu, Kapolei, and Pearl City, and one in Kahului failed to pay overtime.
  • $89,565 to 12 employees after four Regal Food Inc. locations in Honolulu malls failed to pay the required minimum wage and overtime. The employer also failed to maintain adequate time records.
  • $33,346 to five employees after Julie Z Restaurant Filipino Home Style Cuisine at Kapolei Marketplace failed to pay overtime.
  • $76, 932 to 10 employees after three Thai-Lao Restaurants locations in Honolulu, Pearl City, and Kapolei failed to pay overtime to kitchen staff.
  • $7,060 in penalties were assessed to Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ at Windward Mall for allowing four minors to load a trash compactor.

"We encourage employers to view the results of this enforcement and education initiative as an opportunity to review their own practices, and to make any corrections necessary to come into compliance," said Trotter.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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