Legislation has been passed regulating the minimum wage an employer can pay their employee and overtime compensation as a means of abolishing the days when workers toiled away in factories for twelve hours a day, six days a week, for a pittance. Alas, the existence of the laws doesn’t always prevent employers from abusing their workers. In a recent overtime lawsuit against a restaurant owned by Dick Lee Pastry Inc. in San Francisco, the municipal attorney for the City of San Francisco cited the restaurant owners for alleged violations of overtime laws and wage theft, among others.
One employee involved in the case alleged that she regularly worked from 9am to 9pm with a single 1-hour lunch break, but her paycheck only ever reflected 3 hours. After five years of this, the woman finally quit her job in 2010 when the company allegedly refused her a two-week break to attend to an important child care issue involving her young son.
Another employee also allegedly worked as a housekeeper at the restaurant owner’s home at night after spending her days busing tables at the restaurant.
The company allegedly paid employees no more than $1,100 per month to work six-day weeks at 11-14 hours per day. Not only did this violate California overtime law, but the monthly stipend worked out to less than half of the current San Francisco minimum wage of $10.50 per hour (it was $9.92 at the time the lawsuit was filed).
According to the lawsuit, the company issued employees copies of work schedules that reflected, at most, three hours of work per day and issued paychecks reflecting those hours at the minimum wage. The rest of the employees’ wages were paid in cash, thus ensuring that, according to the only paper trail that was left, the company appeared to be operating within the law.
The lawsuit settled for $525,000, the single largest amount yet secured by the City in pursuit of recompense for wage theft. Out of that money, one of the employees will receive as much as $89,000 in back wages. If the company had not settled, they faced a much larger judgment of up to $1.5 million as well as the potential for seizure of two properties.
The lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against restaurants, and hotels for forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Naperville and Willowbrook. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Villa Park and Romeoville overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.