Workers at Rangoon Ruby chain restaurant who claimed they were on call but denied overtime wages will receive a settlement. The Burmese restaurant agreed to pay $4 million to about 300 workers to settle the California wage theft lawsuit. The settlement amount represents the money owed in unpaid wages plus penalties to workers.
What is Overtime? The federal overtime provisions are included in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unless an employee is exempt, they are covered by the Act and employers should provide them with overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rate of pay.
The workers who filed suit against Rangoon Ruby described their unpaid overtime work as being “on call.” The restaurant chain owners, Max Lee and John Lee, operates in San Francisco, San Carlos, Burlingame, Belmont, and Palo Alto (where the same management team also runs Burma Ruby Burmese Cuisine). The workers alleged the work requirements left them frustrated and tired and working extra hours without extra pay.
Another plaintiff in the case claimed that the working conditions at Rangoon Ruby left her feeling ill. When she sought time off to see a doctor, Rangoon Ruby management denied her time off request. When she went to the doctor anyway, the restaurant docked her pay even though state law requires employers to provide workers with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Other workers claimed they were summoned for unscheduled shifts without overtime pay in order to cover delivery orders. Since many of the workers were housed in dormitories by Rangoon Ruby, the situation was particularly sensitive because they relied on the restaurant not only for work, but for housing as well.
This settlement agreement is one in a string of victories for restaurant workers in the Bay Area. If you are not being paid overtime wages or if you need to discuss what your rights are in the workplace, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP.