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O'ahu restaurant owner under fire for underpaying workers

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Sujin Tomita is the owner of Sura Hawaiʻi in Honolulu and Kapolei, and Thank Q Pocha, located in Honolulu.

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hours Division found that Tomita and her restaurants paid less than minimum wage and no overtime pay. The restaurants also discarded time records each month.

The Sura Hawaiʻi location in Honolulu paid its servers a flat salary for all hours and did not meet minimum wage requirements. Most of the workers put in an average of 46 hours a week. The workers are predominantly from Chuuk in Micronesia.

"Paying a flat salary for all hours worked does not allow an employer to ignore its legal obligation to pay frontline staff overtime wages when they work more 40 hours in a workweek.” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Terence Trotter in Honolulu.

Tomita will pay $210,000 in back wages and liquidated damages to 71 workers and $10,000 in civil money penalties.

In fiscal year 2021, the Wage and Hour Division identified more than $230 million in back wages owed to workers nationwide

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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