Sushi Restaurant Withheld Workers' Tips, Department of Labor Punishes Owner

When a Medford sushi restaurant withheld tips from its employees, the Department of Labor stepped in to rectify the situation. In total, the 36 workers who were cheated out of their money were paid back close to $300,000! 

This month, the US Dept. of Labor revealed Misoya Bistro in downtown Medford was guilty of keeping tips and overtime pay from their workers. These employees worked more than 40 hours per week and were thus entitled to many overtime benefits.

On top of this, the establishment would retain any tips that they made. They only provided workers with a fraction of what they deserved. The department reported that they retrieved more than $280,000 on behalf of 36 Misoya Bistro employees.  

A signage of Misoya Bistro next to a platter of sushi | Photo: Instagram/southern_oregon_experience & Instagram/jessrosspictures2019

A signage of Misoya Bistro next to a platter of sushi | Photo: Instagram/southern_oregon_experience & Instagram/jessrosspictures2019

RESTAURANT OWNER FOUND GUILTY 

After an investigation, the owner was found guilty and in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. In a statement, the department shared the details about this infraction.  

They said:

"Misoya Bistro paid workers an hourly ‘tip wage’ rate that was significantly lower than the actual amount of tips the employees earned."

A jar of coins lies on a table | Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

A jar of coins lies on a table | Photo: Pexels/Pixabay

WORKERS ARE EXPLOITED 

Their bosses exploit many restaurant workers because they are not always aware of their rights. Thankfully, divisions like the Dept. of Labor exist and are working to assist these people.

Not only do the employees suffer, but their families also bear the brunt of this unfair treatment. Workers are entitled to their service tips, and they should speak out when this is not their reality.

A waiter serves a platter of sushi | Photo: Pexels/Huy Phan

A waiter serves a platter of sushi | Photo: Pexels/Huy Phan

THE PUBLIC COMMENTS 

Online commentators also added their views on this great injustice. One user said: "This business owner should not only go to jail but have to pay his employees what was taken from them plus damages and interest."

A person who was directly affected by this business also shared an experience. They expressed that their wife was an employee at Misoya Bistro for a short while. He added: "Getting her tips taken away was the main reason she didn't stay."

A person hands someone a 10 dollar bill | Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

A person hands someone a 10 dollar bill | Photo: Pexels/Karolina Grabowska

MISTREATED

Taking advantage of employees in this industry is not an isolated occurrence. In May, a report was released that outlined the story of Danielle Wynne, a $10-an-hour convenience store clerk in Florida.

She shared that her boss often instructed her to work off the clock. Ruth Palacios was another lower rung worker that faced exploitation. As a janitor from Mexico, she was mistreated and earned lower than the minimum wage. 

Two janitors are seen walking along the road in the midst of fulfilling their duties | Photo: Pexels/Алексей Васильев

Two janitors are seen walking along the road in the midst of fulfilling their duties | Photo: Pexels/Алексей Васильев

UNFAIR WORKING CONDITIONS ARE COMMON

People have become desperate for jobs, and thus they accept jobs that treat them unfairly. Jenn Round, a labor standards enforcement fellow at Rutgers University, explained why organizations often break the law. 

She said: “Some companies are doing a cost-benefit analysis and realize it’s cheaper to violate the law, even if you get caught." This is why awareness in the workplace is important. The more workers are educated, the more they can stand up for their rights.   

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