They've put in the time but haven't been paid for it. Dozens of Waikiki restaurant workers say their employer shut the doors and skipped town without warning.
Haley Meshnik is sitting, waiting and wondering, what happened. For a full year, she worked long hours as pastry chef at the Five Star International Buffet in Waikiki. The restaurant was located in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center right next to Forever 21.
On May 1, both Meshnik and other staff members showed up for work, worked several hours, then heard a rumor that the business was going out of business so she went to a manager.
"And he said yeah we are but don't tell anyone, we're going to try and stay open for two or three days to make a little bit more money and use up our food," said Meshnik.
But the employees weren't buying it. With no guarantee of being paid for that day, they left. Little did they know that to this day they'd still be waiting for two weeks of back pay. Some say they're still owed a month's worth of wages.
"Our normal pay period has come and gone and weeks have passed and we have yet to receive anything as well as even a notice from the managers who I hear haven't gotten paid as well," said Sarah Drake, a former employee.
The restaurant's owner sent out a note to some apologizing saying, "The restaurant has been experiencing cash flow problems for some time now... From this point forward, I will be leaving matters in the hands of the company's legal counsel."
The abrupt move was also a shock to Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center property managers who say the closure came without warning. That's what these former employees say has been the worst of all.
"Had I known previously, I could have started looking but they didn't give us that courtesy either," said Drake.
Some people are still out of work and a lot of money but Meshnik and her former co-workers aren't ready to give up.
"I don't want to be quiet until I know my friends are taken care of so I'm going to keep helping them out as much as I can," said Meshnik.
Although former employees tell us they've found it nearly impossible to get in touch with the owner of the restaurant because he's based in Japan, Haley Meshnik says she ended up getting paid most of the money she was owed by filing a complaint with the Department of Labor. You have the right to file for "collection of unpaid wages" within one year from the time those wages became due.