Chinese-American restaurant settles case

Colorful display at Chinatown restaurant. Photo by Getty Images

Colorful display at Chinatown restaurant. Photo by Getty Images


By Bert Eljera

LAS VEGAS – A San Francisco Chinese-American restaurant employing mostly Asian-Americans agreed to settle a case involving unpaid overtime and minimum wages.

The Xue’s Restaurant, Inc. and Liu’s Restaurant, Inc. dba Tsing Tao Restaurant agreed to pay a total of $340,000 to the employees who brought the complaint.

California Labor Commissioner Julie Su announced the settlement Tuesday, closing the case that began middle of this year.

In June and August, Tsing Tao was issued citations for failure to pay overtime and provide itemized payroll statements, including deductions, to 28 workers at its Clement and Fillmore streets locations.

The Department of Industrial Relations’ (DIR) Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, also known as the Labor Commissioner’s Office, helped the restaurant and the workers to reach a settlement.

The Labor Commissioner’s office began its investigation of the restaurants after receiving a referral from San Francisco’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement in June.

“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.”

According to the agreement, the employer will 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 Su, the labor commissioner. “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.”

In addition, Tsing Tao has agreed to maintain accurate records on a daily basis of hours worked, and 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.

The settlement brings the total amount of settlement payments obtained for workers in the San Francisco restaurant industry to over $900,000.

The Asian Law Caucus and Chinese Progressive Association helped the workers in reaching the settlement with their employers.

More than $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.


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