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Survey Reveals Wage Theft in Chinatown Restaurants

October 1, 2010

Our Riverside labor and employment attorneys have been following the recent release of a survey by the Chinese Progressive Association entitled, Check, Please!," that reveals that workers in San Francisco's Chinatown are regularly paid less than minimum wage.

According to the report, conducted by the immigrant-rights group over a period of two years, over 400 workers in Chinatown were surveyed--over half of which claimed wage theft. The report claimed that over fifty percent of workers make less than minimum wage, currently $9.79 per hour in San Francisco. Other results found that while forty percent of workers worked overtime, nearly eighty percent of the surveyed workers were not compensated for the extra hours worked. The report found that ninety-five perfect of the workers do not receive a living wage.

This high report of minimum wage theft with workers in Chinatown restaurants surpasses the reports of wage theft from a study earlier this year, that our Orange County employment lawyers reported on in a blog, finding almost 30% of low wage workers surveyed in Los Angeles, California were paid less than minimum wage.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, George Friday, director of the Labor Department's wage and hour division in San Francisco, claimed that certain industries are more prone to wage violations, like restaurants, agriculture, and home health care, among others. Workers who are immigrants, or who have limited English language skills are especially vulnerable.

The California labor commissioner's office reported that last year, over 9,000 businesses were inspected for a wide variety of employment and labor violations, including workers' compensation benefits and minimum wage violations.

The Chinatown survey was performed successfully after experts from UC Berkley, UCSF, as well as the San Francisco Department of Health and the San Francisco Office of Standards and Enforcements trained restaurant workers on how to conduct the survey in their own language. The report calls for stronger enforcement of state and federal labor laws in Chinatown, such as protecting minimum wage, overtime laws, and health and safety regulations.

In Orange County, California, Howard Law, PC represents employees in wage and hour lawsuits, who have been wrongfully deprived of wages and are seeking recovery. Call today for a free consultation at 1-800-872-5925.

Chinese Progressive Association: Check, Please!

Study: Chinatown Food Workers Paid Miniscule Wages, KTVU, September 17, 2010

Survey Finds "Wage Theft' at Chinatown Eateries, The San Francisco Chronicle, September 17, 2010

L.A. Leads New York, Chicago, in Abuse of Low-wage Workers, Survey Says, Los Angeles Times, January 6, 2010

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor

OSHA