Workers at China Town Super Buffet – which has locations in Independence and Blue Springs – will receive more than $196,000 in unpaid wages.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division conducted an investigation into the corporations that own the China Town Buffet restaurants in Independence, Blue Springs and Kansas City and found violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act’s minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions. As part of a settlement agreement, the corporations were ordered to pay $196,971 in unpaid wages.

“Through investigations like this one, the Wage and Hour Division continues to combat widespread minimum wage and overtime violations among restaurants,” Patricia Preston, district director for the Wage and Hour Division in Kansas City, said in a press release. “The restaurant industry employs some of our country’s most vulnerable workers who, especially during hard economic times, are at risk for exploitation. We will continue our effort to promote awareness and improve compliance in this industry.”

Federal investigators ruled that the companies paid kitchen workers a fixed salary that was insufficient to cover minimum wage – which is currently $7.25 per hour – for all hours worked and that workers were not paid one and a half times the hourly rate for work of more than 40 hours in a week. The Department of Labor’s Kansas City District Office also ruled that improper records were kept in the amount of hours worked and the payments made to those employees.

The three corporations doing business as China Town Super Buffet – China Town Super Buffet Inc., of Independence; China Town Cafe Inc., of Blue Springs; and C.T. Mancilla of Kansas City, Kan. – signed a settlement with the Department of Labor in which they agree to comply with FLSA standards in the future.

Under the agreement, the companies also must pay employees bi-weekly; track all hours on timecards; provide all employees information in their native languages on their FLSA rights; and provide a pay stub on each pay date that shows total hours worked, total hours paid and deductions. The corporations also must provide the phone number to the local Wage and Hour Division office, post a FLSA poster in a conspicuous location and train managers in FLSA provisions and the settlement agreement.