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Sushi Waitresses Claim They Are Victims of Sex Discrimination and Wage Theft


In tough economic times, such as the situation we are currently dealing with, employers sometimes feel that they can take advantage of employees who have few opportunities to find other employment. This can often lead to employers mistreating their workers in the workplace, which makes it more important than ever for employees to understand the rights to which they are entitled while they are at work.

Not least among these rights is that of being treated equally. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission applies to all employers working within the United States. Every worker has the right to go to work feeling that they are just as valued as each and every one of their co-workers. Unfortunately, this is not always the case in reality.

Recently, a popular sushi restaurant, located on Pearl Street in Denver, has been hit with a class action lawsuit by four of its female employees. The federal class action lawsuit was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, naming Sushi Den and Izakaya Den as defendants.

The plaintiffs allege that they have been the victims of sexual harassment and discrimination while working at Sushi Den. The lawsuit alleges that female employees of the restaurant are sexually harassed by the restaurant’s male employees, passed over for promotion in favor of their male co-workers, and consistently subjected to insults by the owner in front of customers.

According to the complaint, one of the owners of the restaurant allegedly tells female employees that they are not as intelligent as men and that women “lack common sense”. Of course, words can cause more pain than physical blows and, since beating one’s employees is certainly never acceptable, there is no reason to assume that this sort of verbal abuse would be.

As evidence of the fact that women are consistently passed over for promotions at the restaurant, the complaint points out that there are no female sushi chefs at Sushi Den and only one of the managers is a woman.

The lawsuit further alleges that male workers make sexual remarks and tell sexual jokes around the female staff members. This unprofessional language as been reported to managers but has allegedly been ignored.
Additionally, the plaintiffs allege that two female employees were told to hide their stomachs because they looked “sloppy”.

The attorneys for Sushi Den have responded to the class action lawsuit with a statement, which says, in part, “A very small number of (Sushi Den’s) many employees are making these allegations even after an independent third-party investigator reviewed the facts and found allegations of systemic discrimination or harassment against female employees to be unsubstantiated.”

Of course, if the allegations prove to be founded, it is not reasonable to assume that the four plaintiffs are the only employees with complaints about the treatment of women at Sushi Den. Once a job is acquired, employees may find it very difficult to leave without assurance of finding another job. It is a sad fact that many employees do not speak out when they should. Just because the complaints are coming from “a very small number” of employees, is no reason to assume that the employees speaking out are the only ones affected.

The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for misclassifying employees as managers or assistant managers, 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 Chicago class action 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 Waukegan. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.

Our Evanston, Schaumburg, and Naperville 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.