A Korean BBQ restaurant in San Francisco is facing wage and overtime allegations from three former employees who filed suit citing wage theft, wrongful termination in retaliation for complaining about the company’s labor law violations. The lawsuit was filed against YakiniQ, Inc., the restaurant’s owner, Daeho Hwang, and the restaurant’s manager, Bruce Lee. The lawsuit was filed in San Francisco County Superior Court July 27th.
The Plaintiffs: Michael An, Joshua Kim & Seung-Jae Yim
The plaintiffs who filed he wage and overtime lawsuit against the restaurant were servers at various times for YakiniQ. Termination dates vary, but fall between September and December 2015. All claim that their employer promised that they would be paid minimum wage plus tips that were left by customers of the restaurant.
The Defendant/s: YakiniQ, Inc., Daeho Hwang & Bruce Lee
Lee and YakiniQ are accused of withholding wages and keeping cash tips left by customers for themselves. The Defendants are also accused of regularly requiring their employees to work shifts that were longer than eight hours without providing overtime payment.
Employment law is in place to prevent employers from taking this type of action in order to “cut corners” when providing employees with their rightful wages.
Activities included in the plaintiffs’ common duties:
· Greeting customers
· Seating customers
· Taking orders from customers
· Serving food and drinks to customers
· Delivering bills to customers
· Bussing tables
· Cleaning the restaurant after close of day
Allegedly, the restaurant owner/manager prohibited the plaintiffs from taking their rest and meal breaks as required by law under California Labor Code. According to the lawsuit, when plaintiffs were allowed to eat, they were not relieved of job duties completely. They were required to respond to requests from both customers and their employer as needed even while eating. Servers were also, allegedly, financially penalized as a group for individual mistakes on the job. If one server forgot to include an item in a customer’s bill, the cost of the item was divided up amongst servers on the shift so the restaurant could avoid absorbing the cost. Michael An states that when he complained about the unlawful action on October 4th, 2015 he was fired. Plaintiffs seek a jury trial and compensation for lost wages/unpaid overtime.