The U.S. Department of Labor said it recovered over $245,722 for 10 Northern California cooks whose employer allegedly intentionally denied them overtime and paid them flat salaries.

The Pho restaurants, owned by Thuan Do with two locations in Modesto, one in Stockton, and one in Manteca, was found to have understood federal wage regulations but still paid employees a flat salary for all hours worked, the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division said Thursday.

Regulators said Do violated minimum wage and overtime requirements from the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires overtime pay rates after 40 hours.

Additionally, they also learned that Do had fabricated payroll records and reported fewer hours for the cooks to create an appearance of compliance.

The investigation from the department found that Do owed the workers $122,861 in unpaid overtime, minimum wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages.

The department said they also assessed $8,330 in civil money penalties for the employer's willful violations.

“The U.S. Department of Labor is committed to holding employers accountable, especially when they deny employees all of their hard-earned wages deliberately,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Cesar Avila in Sacramento said in a statement. “The Pho and its owner have learned that there are costly consequences for violating federal wage regulations.”

Do was not immediately available for comment on the case as of Friday.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Labor required that another restaurant owner with locations in Manteca also pay $824,405 in back wages and damages to 102 workers after not paying overtime hours.

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