M. Terry / SFVS

LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The operator of a string of sushi and ramen restaurants will pay $621,000 in back wages and damages after a federal investigation found that chefs and other workers were denied overtime pay, the U.S. Department of Labor has announced.

Investigators from the department’s Wage and Hour Division found that Cerritos-based Gatten Sushi USA and affiliate GTN Inc. cheated chefs and other workers out of overtime, shaving hours off time-cards and docking employees’ pay routinely for 10-minute breaks.

A representative of the company could not immediately be reached.

Gatten owns and operates sushi restaurants under the Gatten Sushi name in Granada Hills, Cerritos, West Covina, Monterey Park, Irvine,and Gardena.  GTN runs Yushoken Ramen restaurants in Arcadia and Irvine.

The sushi and ramen eateries were both part of the Labor Department investigation.

In addition to sushi chefs, servers and kitchen staff will collect back wages as part of the settlement. Some of the sushi chefs reported having worked more than 90 hours per week without overtime, according to Ruben Rosalez, the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrator in San Francisco.

“Unfortunately, the wage, overtime and record-keeping violations found at this employer’s establishments are all too common in the restaurant industry,” Rosalez said. “This employer’s failure to pay legally earned wages hurts the workers, their families and restaurant owners who play by the rules. This investigation and its outcome should send a strong message to others who may be cheating workers.”