Broward News

Cooper City Restaurant to Pay Workers $88K After Feds Investigate

South China, a restaurant in Cooper City, has been ordered to pay back wages amounting to nearly $90,000.
South China, a restaurant in Cooper City, has been ordered to pay back wages amounting to nearly $90,000. Tee Berg
A Cooper City restaurant has been ordered to pay more than $88,000 to eight workers after a government investigation found the restaurant had violated multiple federal labor laws.

Servers, bussers, and cooks at South China Restaurant, at 5550 S. Flamingo Rd., were paid weekly or monthly salaries rather than hourly wages. Though employees were working more than 40 hours a week, the restaurant did not pay them overtime and did not record the number of hours cooks worked.

In an investigation of the restaurant's operations for two years, from February 2017 to February 2019, the Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division found South China Restaurant in violation of numerous Fair Labor Standards Act requirements related to minimum wage, overtime, and record-keeping. A department spokesman said the investigation was completed April 30, 2019, and the restaurant owners agreed to comply with federal labor laws in the future.

“Employers are required to pay their employees the wages they have legally earned for all the hours that they work,” said Tony Pham, the district director for the department's Wage and Hour Division in Miami.

Department spokesman Michael D'Aquino said at least some of the eight employees still work at South China Restaurant. He added, "As with every investigation we conduct, the employer was notified of anti-retaliation and anti-kickback provisions of the law."

South China Restaurant management has not responded to phone calls from New Times. The small Chinese eatery, tucked in a shaded corner of the upscale Country Shoppes off Stirling and Flamingo Roads, was closed for business during a recent visit, and its website has been taken offline.
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Veteran journalist Teri Berg is an award-winning writer and editor. A native Ohioan, she's celebrating a decade in South Florida.