Miyo's Owners Speak Out Amid Labor Violations


By Crandall Sims

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- "We wouldn't be, you know, where we are if we had mistreated employees or have taken, rip people off," says Xiaolan Wang, Owner of Miyo's.

Instead of hiding behind news they violated labor laws Miyo's owners, Xiaolan (Michelle) Wang and Rui (Ray) Cao are telling their side of the story.

"Did we, you know, intentionally not pay all of the employees or underpay the employees? Absolutely not. But, did we do all the things correct based on what the government requires, we did not," says Rui Cao.

Seven restaurants in all were involved those include, five are Miyo's, M Cafe and M Vista.

"There were minimum wage, overtime and record keeping violations," says Michelle Garvey, District Director of the U.S. Labor Department's Columbia Office.

The couple says many of the employees were pre-release inmates and it was merely a mis-understanding.

"For people working 5 days they got paid a fixed salary of $1,500 and people working 6 days, getting paid $1,800 - $2,000," says Wang

"What we learned was, inmates they fall into the same category as any other employee, so they are not a special category, we thought they were," says Wang.

In all ninety-seven employees, according to officials, were owed back wages.

Garvey says the Miyo's case is just part of an ongoing initiative focusing on restaurants.

"We are finding a number of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act," says Garvey.

Another familiar case involves area San Jose restaurants they too, say officials, had the same violations and then some.

"We also found in some cases, the weight staff wasn't being paid any wages, they were working for tips only," says Garvey

Garvey tells me the restaurants investigated are chosen at random.

In the Miyo's case, the end came with the owners agreeing to pay $44,000 in back wages and changes being made.

"Every single employee has a clock-in, clock-out, we have a very good tracking record, I look at it every night," says Cao.
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