The owner of a Thai restaurant in Los Angeles will be fined $1.6 million for failing to pay 83 workers overtime, according to a federal investigation.
Prapai Boonyindee, owner of Ocha Classic restaurants and a Vim restaurant, will have to pay back wages and damages to his workers after a Labor Department inquiry confirmed he did not pay overtime.
But the owner not only refused to pay his workers overtime, he himself made false pay reports that he later turned over to authorities in an attempt to hide it.
As an example of these actions, the federal labor authorities detailed that Boonyindee avoided paying overtime to 26 workers at one of his restaurants located in the Korean neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The penalty the owner will have to pay was divided into $825,775 in damages for back wages, an equal amount in damages, and an additional $62,167 in civil penalties.
The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division issued an administrative order against Boonyindee to enforce the payment order by the owner.
This is one of the latest cases in which restaurant workers are affected by cases of wage theft or overtime.
California recently passed a law to protect fast food workers; however, some chains, such as McDonalds, have launched a legal battle to reverse the legislation.
In 2022 alone, the Labor Department was able to recover more than $27 million in wages for the benefit of more than 22,000 affected workers.
One of these cases involved the donut chain Krispy Kreme, which had to pay $1.2 million to more than 500 workers at its 242 stores, allegedly paying overtime below the rate approved by labor authorities.
Another well-known case was that of the Texas BBQ restaurant chain, which was accused in a federal investigation that some supervisors kept the tips of the workers.
The restaurant was sanctioned with the payment of $230,000 dollars after an audit in 2019, in which they found that in several restaurants the practice of not giving tips to workers had been carried out.