The office of California Labor Commissioner’s Office reported recently that a Burmese restaurant group with facilities in various locations and one other restaurant received citations for around $5 million each after investigations into their labor practices. The inquiries were launched after kitchen staff logged complaints about employee rights violations. Hundreds of workers alleged wage theft by the restaurant owners.
Reportedly, some of the cooks claimed they were classified as salary workers, but their overtime — as much as 10 hours per week — was never paid. Complaints were filed by bussers, servers, dishwashers, chefs and hosts, all of whom were expected to work split shifts. The claims state that none of them ever received the extra hour’s minimum wage to which they were entitled for working split shifts. Minimum wage earners also alleged that their employers used their tips to make up minimum wages.
A spokesperson for the Asian Law Caucus who aims to protect the rights of these workers says many of the employees have limited proficiency in the English language. The restaurant owners provide not only employment but also accommodation. The employees do not know their rights, and they fear retaliation if they file complaints.
No one deserves to work for unrealistic hours without due remuneration. California workers who find themselves in similar circumstances can get answers from an experienced employment law attorney. A lawyer can explain their employee rights and also the steps they can take to claim fair compensation. Unfair practices can be investigated, and the lawyer can pursue recovery of unpaid wages on behalf of the workers.