Owner of two Orlando restaurants got caught shorting hourly workers $27,000


  • Photo via Google Maps
If some of the staff at two Chai Thai Cuisine restaurants in Orlando have looked especially tired, there's a good reason.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced in a press release last week that employees at both spots are owed $27,000 in back wages. The owner of the restaurants, Hong Saeunong, violated overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act, says the release.

An investigation by the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found Saeunong paid kitchen staff a flat rate per shift regardless of how many hours they worked during the shift. Even when kitchen staff logged more than 40 hours during the same workweek, Saeunong did not pay overtime, according to the press release.
He did pay overtime to tipped employees but not after they worked over 40 hours in a week, as the law requires, but after tipped staffers worked over 80 hours over two weeks. Saeunong also skirted overtime regulations by paying tipped employees time-and-one-half based on "direct cash wages instead of basing overtime on the full federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour," says the Labor Department.

Also noted in the release was that Saeunong didn't combine hours staffers worked at both locations during the same week when determining overtime.

"Employees deserve to be paid the wages they have legally earned, and law-abiding employers deserve not to find themselves at an economic disadvantage to competitors who break the law," said wage and hour district director Daniel White.

Split 17 ways, each employee will receive an average of over $1,500 in back pay.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.