SPOT Diner Owner Says Employees are Being Paid - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

SPOT Diner Owner Says Employees are Being Paid

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KENNEWICK, Wash.- Local restaurant owners are defending themselves against accusations they're not paying their employees.

KNDU spoke with the owner of the SPOT Diner Thursday, he says the whole thing is just a misunderstanding.  He admits that some employees haven't been paid yet, but says it's because he doesn't have the revenue yet, but he is paying them as money comes in, which state law allows, and he has the papers to prove it.

SPOT Diner owner John McGowan says bad location and bad timing has made business worse than expected.

"Business is not as good as it was supposed to have been," McGowan said. 

Because of that, some former employees haven't been paid for their work, but McGowan says as money comes in, it's going right back out to pay those workers.

"They want to get their pay now and I understand. I'd like to be paid, everybody likes to work and get paid," he said. 

And McGowan has the paperwork to prove it.

"They sign off when they get paid."

He says it's not illegal what he's doing.  McGowan says the State told him the law allows struggling businesses as long as six months to pay employees unpaid wages without penalty, including the wages McGowan admits he still owes to former employees.

The Department of Labor disputes that claim.

"They need to be scheduled on their, on a regularly scheduled payday that's established by the employer, and if they don't get paid on that day, then they can come to Labor and Industries," said Elaine Fischer with L&I.

"We have records of every time that people come in, we give money to somebody every week," McGowan. 

Owners say they've cut staffing back to only themselves, and every dollar that comes in is going right back out until those debts are paid off.

If those owners can't continue to come up with the money, employees can complain to the state and require them to get a labor bond that the employees can then collect from.

So far though, records show though that right now, they're getting their money.