United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JIT SHI GOH, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated Plaintiff,
NORI O INC., d/b/a/ SUSHI O, OTAYA SUSHI II, INC., d/b/a/ SUSHI O, PENG L. TAM, a/k/a ALAN TAM, YUK YEN CHAI, a/k/a IVY CHAI, and YUK WING CHAI, Defendants.
KATHARINE S. HAYDEN, U.S.D.J.
lawsuit brought by plaintiff Jit Shi Goh arises out of
allegations that defendants Nori O Inc., Otaya Sushi II,
Inc., Peng L. Tam, Yuk Yen Chai, and Yuk Wing Chai
(collectively, “defendants”) violated the Fair
Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §
216(b), by failing to pay overtime wages to him and other
similarly situated employees. (D.E. 1, Compl.) Before the
Court is Goh's motion to conditionally certify this
collective action. (D.E. 16, Mot.) Goh also seeks the
issuance of court-authorized notice to the conditional
collective action members, compelled production of a data
file containing these members' contact information,
equitable tolling of the statute of limitations pending the
expiration of the opt-in period, and an order requiring that
defendants post the approved notice in “conspicuous
locations at the location where the [conditional collective
action members] worked, or are now working.” (Mot.
reasons set forth below, the Court denies Goh's motion
alleged in the complaint and supported by Goh's affidavit
(D.E. 17-2, Goh Aff.), Sushi O, located in Edison, New
Jersey, employed him as a “kitchen worker to handle fry
wok work” from May 1, 2014 until June 28, 2015. (Compl.
¶ 10, Goh. Aff. ¶ 3.) Goh worked Tuesday through
Sunday. Tuesday through Friday included two shifts, 10:30
A.M. to 3:00 P.M. and 4:30 P.M. to 10:00 P.M.; Saturday
included two shifts, 11:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. and 4:30 P.M -
10:00 P.M.; Sunday included one extended shift, 11:30 A.M. to
10:00 P.M. (Id. ¶ 5(a)-(c).) This adds up to
59.5 hours per week.
alleges that he was paid “a flat rate of $800 each
week” from May 1, 2014 to August 31, 2014.
(Id. ¶ 5(e).) On September 1, 2014, he received
a $25 weekly pay increase, and was paid $825 a week until
November 30, 2014. (Compl. ¶ 43.) His weekly pay rate
dropped to $750 from December 1, 2014 until June 28, 2015,
when his employment with defendants ended. (Id.
¶ 44.) Goh asserts that he was “never informed of
[his] hourly rate” and “was not compensated at
one-and one-half of my calculated hourly wage for all hours .
. . over forty (40) hours each week.” (Goh
Aff. ¶¶ 6-7.)
alleges knowledge of “Sushi O's policy to not pay
any employees for overtime” based on his conversations
“with other sushi chefs, kitchen workers, waiters, and
various other employees.” (Id. ¶ 10.) Goh
also asserts that these employees “worked for six (6)
days a week, and similar hours” to Goh. (Id.)
identifies five of these employees, listing each one's
role in the restaurant, nationality, estimated age, and
certain physical characteristics:
13. There was a guy named Peter, who worked on hibachi in the
kitchen; he is between 50 to 60 years old, from Malaysia.
Peter is about average build.
14. Another guy [n]amed Addy, who worked in the kitchen
frying tempuras, he is between 30 to 40 years old, from
Mexico. Addy is a bit chubby, and short.
15. There was this Mexican dishwasher, who was in his 20s,
whom I do not recall his name. He was of a smaller build,
skinny and short.
16. There was also this Malaysian waitress, about 50 years
17. There was another sushi chef named Eugene, who worked at
the sushi bar, he is Chinese, and is in his 40s. Eugene also
drives people to and from work.
(Id. ¶¶ 13-18.) Goh alleges that the
defendants “exploited me and my co-workers, and it is
my hope that we will be permitted to recover wages that we
are owed.” (Id. ¶ 18.) He concludes his
affidavit with an appeal to the Court to “allow [him]
to represent the interests of [his] co-workers in ...