CA Labor Commissioner Obtains $4 Million in Back Pay for San Francisco Restaurant Workers

CA Labor Commissioner Obtains $4 Million in Back Pay for San Francisco Restaurant Workers

San Francisco, November 19, 2014— California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su has assisted in brokering a $4 million settlement on behalf of 280 workers at Michelin-rated dim sum restaurant Yank Sing in San Francisco. The money represents back pay for minimum wage, meal, rest period, and other labor code violations, and is being distributed to employees of the restaurant’s two San Francisco locations.

The Labor Commissioner investigated the violations in partnership with the Chinese Progressive Association (CPA), the Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus as well as the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. The investigation began after a number of immigrant Yank Sing workers approached the CPA with complaints in 2013.

Investigators found the following violations at Yank Sing:

  • Employees were paid the state minimum wage of $8 per hour, not San Francisco’s higher minimum wage.
  • Management kept or misdirected to ineligible employees approximately $1 million in tips intended for workers over a four-year period.
  • Employees were not paid for all hours worked.

“This settlement is a win for the workers as well as for the employer who sought a resolution to come into compliance with the state’s labor laws,” said Christine Baker, Director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). The Labor Commissioner’s Office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), is a division within DIR.

Of the $4 million being distributed, approximately $1.4 million is for minimum wage violations, $1.4 million is for overtime pay violations, and $1 million is restitution for withheld gratuities. The balance of the $4 million settlement is allocated primarily to compensation for meal and rest period violations.

“As Labor Commissioner, I know that government cannot do it alone. This outcome was the result of a concerted effort with community-based organizations that have the workers’ trust,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su.  “Yank Sing’s response to our investigation and our ability to resolve this matter without litigation is something we’d like to encourage employers faced with similar violations to emulate.”

As a result of the settlement, Yank Sing workers will now enjoy base wage increases, holiday and vacation pay, and fully paid health care for full-time employees.

Among its wide-ranging enforcement responsibilities, the Labor Commissioner’s office inspects workplaces for wage and hour violations, adjudicates wage claims, enforces prevailing wage rates and apprenticeship standards in public works projects, investigates retaliation complaints, issues licenses and registrations for businesses and educates the public on labor laws.

The most recent information related to California labor laws is available on DIR’s website. Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the toll-free California Workers’ Information Line at (866) 924-9757 for recorded information, in English and Spanish.

Source: CA DIR

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