San Francisco, CA (Law Firm Newswire) September 16, 2016 - Three former employees of a Korean barbecue restaurant in San Francisco, California, have accused their employers of wage theft and wrongful termination in retaliation for complaining about multiple wage and overtime violations.
The lawsuit was filed against YakiniQ, Inc., restaurant owner Daeho Hwang and manager Bruce Lee in San Francisco County Superior Court on July 27.
Michael An, Joshua Kim and Seung-Jae Yim worked at YakiniQ BBQ as servers for various periods of time. Their employment ended between September and December 2015. The plaintiffs claimed their employers promised to pay them minimum wage plus tips left by restaurant customers. However, Lee and YakiniQ allegedly withheld their wages and kept cash tips for themselves.
“Along with keeping customers’ tips for themselves, the defendants also routinely forced their employees to work shifts that lasted over eight hours without overtime,” commented attorney Jason M. Erlich of McCormack and Erlich, a San Francisco-based employment law firm, who is representing the plaintiffs. “There are laws that prevent employers from cutting corners when it comes to paying workers their rightful earnings.”
The plaintiffs’ duties included greeting and seating customers, taking their orders, serving them food and drinks, distributing customers’ bills and bussing tables. They were also responsible for cleaning the restaurant after closing.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants prevented the plaintiffs from taking rest and meal breaks as required under the California Labor Code. When allowed to eat, the employees were not completely relieved of their job duties. They were expected to respond to any customer or employer demands that arose.
In addition, Hwang and Lee allegedly penalized the plaintiffs’ errors by other waiters. For example, if a server mistakenly forgot to charge a customer for a food item, all the employees on the same shift had to pay for it out of their own pockets, even those that were not responsible. On October 4, 2015, An complained to Lee about the unlawful conduct. He was fired on the same day.
The plaintiffs are seeking a jury trial and compensation for lost earnings and unpaid overtime wages. “It is important to speak to an experienced employment attorney if you find yourself working without any breaks or rightful pay to which you are entitled,” said Erlich.
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