California Labor Commissioner Reaches $235,835 Settlement for Unpaid Wages

OAKLAND, Calif., March 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su reached a $235,835 settlement involving unpaid overtime wages for employees at Big Lantern Restaurant in San Francisco. This settlement follows the issuance of citations for unpaid minimum wage and overtime in December 2011 and the completion of a payroll audit which determined the amount of unpaid wages owed to 14 workers.

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 following the December citations.   The Labor Commissioner's office began an investigation of the restaurant in October 2011 after a worker filed a wage claim. 

"Any employee who works in the state of California deserves to be paid for all hours worked, regardless of the industry," 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 reached stipulates that the employer pay each of the 14 workers their amount of wages owed, a total of $230,535, with workers receiving from $457 to $38,880 each. An additional $5,300 covers penalties owed for the violations. This settlement was achieved with the assistance of the City and County of San Francisco's Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, which was instrumental in gathering information from Big Lantern Restaurant workers.

"Any employer who fails to pay wages for all hours worked should know that we will hold their feet to the fire," said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. "This case demonstrates the power of one worker who stepped forward to file a wage claim, which brought the violations to our attention.  With this settlement, we also say to law-abiding employers, we are committed to ensuring that everyone plays by the same rules you do."

The settlement also signals the employers' acknowledgment of their legal obligations going forward.  They have agreed to maintain accurate records on a daily basis of hours worked and to provide employees accurate wage statements as required by law.

The settlement was the result of collaboration between State and local government as well as community advocates. 

"I am grateful for the partnership between my office and the San Francisco Office of Labor Standards Enforcement.  It is an excellent example of what can happen when government agencies collaborate," said Su.  "The Asian Law Caucus and Chinese Progressive Association were also instrumental.  Often, workers feel that if they speak out, they will lose their jobs.  These organizations are critical in making sure workers know their rights and have a place to turn.  We are very appreciative of their help."

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.

DIR has additional information on overtime, other labor laws and work related topics on our website at www.dir.ca.gov, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints can also call the California Workers' Information Line at 1-866-924-9757 for recorded information on a variety of work related topics. 

CONTACT:
Erika Monterroza
Dean Fryer
(510) 286-1161
Internet: www.dir.ca.gov

SOURCE California Department of Industrial Relations




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