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California Labor Commissioner Reaches $339,716 Settlement for Unpaid Wages at San Francisco Restaurants, Includes Penalty if Retaliation Occurs

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su has reached a $339,716 settlement involving unpaid overtime and minimum wages for employees at Xue's Restaurant, Inc. and Liu's Restaurant, Inc. dba Tsing Tao Restaurant in San Francisco.

This settlement follows the issuance of citations in June and August for unpaid minimum wage, overtime and failure to provide itemized payroll statements including deductions for 28 workers at Tsing Tao's Clement Street and Fillmore Street locations.

The Department of Industrial Relations' (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, also known as the Labor Commissioner's Office, helped the parties reach a settlement.  The Labor Commissioner's office began its investigation of the restaurants last June after receiving a referral from San Francisco's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement. 

"California workers deserve to be paid everything they are owed for their work," said DIR Director Christine Baker. "Employers who deny their workers the pay they are rightfully owed will be held accountable to remedy the issue and restore wages due."

The settlement stipulates that the employer pay each of the 28 workers their amount of wages owed as well as penalties assessed for the violations, a total of $260,066. Workers will each receive between $2,000 and $36,547.

"This settlement sends a strong message to employers who fail to pay their workers everything they are owed," said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. "State law sets a wage floor under which no one should be forced to work and prohibits employers from playing fast and loose with workers' paychecks to avoid paying them properly."

The settlement also signals the employer's acknowledgment of their legal obligations going forward. Tsing Tao has agreed to maintain accurate records on a daily basis of hours worked and to provide employees with accurate wage statements as required by law.

A further clause of the settlement stipulates a $50,000 penalty in liquidated damages if any of the employees suffers unlawful retaliation by the employer as a result of their cooperation with the Labor Commissioner's investigation.

"This case came to us as a referral from the City and County of San Francisco's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, and is a testament to the benefit of collaboration between government agencies," added Su. "Their office was instrumental in gathering information from the Tsing Tao workers."

This settlement brings the total amount of settlement payments obtained for workers in the San Francisco restaurant industry to over $900,000 through the Labor Commissioner's cooperative partnership with San Francisco's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement and with assistance from community groups including the Asian Law Caucus and Chinese Progressive Association.

"Such community-based organizations are an invaluable resource, especially in immigrant communities," added Labor Commissioner Su.

Over $400,000 in wages were also collected this year as a result of wage claims filed by 112 restaurant workers in the Labor Commissioner's San Francisco District office, which services the city of San Francisco as well as adjacent cities including Daly City, Pacifica and San Bruno.

California law requires that an employer must pay overtime to any employee who works more than 8 hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. When an employee works more than 8 hours in a day, or beyond 6 consecutive days, he or she is entitled to one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay. An employee is due double their amount of regular pay when he or she works beyond 8 hours on the 7th consecutive working day, or if he or she works beyond 12 hours in one workday.

The California Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Labor Standards Enforcement adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints and enforces state labor law. Additional information on labor laws such as overtime and other work-related topics are available on our Web site, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the California Workers' Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757 for recorded information on a variety of work related topics.

Twitter: @CA_DIR

Erika Monterroza
Peter Melton
(510) 286-1161

SOURCE California Department of Industrial Relations

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