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Restaurant forced to pay out $262,000 after forcing workers to split tips with bosses

A Florida sushi restaurant has repaid staff $262,000 after forcing servers to share tips with their bosses, according to officials (Google Maps)
A Florida sushi restaurant has repaid staff $262,000 after forcing servers to share tips with their bosses, according to officials (Google Maps)

A Florida sushi restaurant has repaid staff $262,000 after forcing servers to share tips with their bosses, according to officials.

Ginza Japanese Restaurant in Fort Myers made its 75 servers share the tips with the chefs, owners and managers, according to the US Department of Labor.

The DOL says that the practice was a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which prevents employers from requiring tips to be shared.

An investigation by the agency found that the restaurant was unable to account for $22,000 in tips that it had allegedly withheld and had no records to prove that the money had been paid to servers or other employees.

The company had also failed to properly pay those employees who had two separate roles at the company, according to the agency.

The DOL said in a statement that it had recovered $262,322 in back wages and liquidated damages for workers hit by the violations.

“Tips are the property of the employees who earn them. No employer has the right to keep any tips unless they are given directly to the manager who directly serves a customer,” Nicolas Ratmiroff, the Wage and Hour Division’s district director for Tampa, Florida, said in a statement.

Restaurant manager Joshua Salinas told The Fort Myers News-Press that the practice happened more than a year ago and was “all cleared up now.”

Ginza is a sushi and hibachi restaurant that opened in 2017 in Fort Myers.