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Labor Commissioner’s Office Cites Restaurant Owners Over $2 Million for Wage Theft

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office has cited the owners of Genwa Korean BBQ $2.1 million for multiple wage theft and labor law violations affecting 325 servers, dishwashers and cooks.

The Labor Commissioner’s investigation began in August 2018 after workers contacted Bet Tzedek and Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) to report wage theft and both Genwa Korean BBQ locations. A payroll audit determined that full-time staff at both restaurants were deprived of wages by being forced to go off the clock for one hour up to three times a day during their 11-hour workday. None of the workers were provided proper rest or meal breaks as required by law. Nearly half of the workers were not paid the required minimum hourly wage, while more than half were shorted on overtime pay and not provided proper itemized wage statements. Servers were also forced to attend quarterly meetings without pay, even on their scheduled days off.

Sebastian Sanchez, Bet Tzedek staff attorney with the Employment Rights Project, said of the ruling: “Over the past two years, Bet Tzedek has been proud to support the Genwa workers by filing the BOFE complaint that led to these citations, preparing many of them for interviews with BOFE deputies and attorneys, and filing individual wage claims for fourteen workers. We look forward to continuing to support the Genwa workers as the struggle continues to make all the Genwa restaurants a model employer for all of Los Angeles.” 

The Department of Industrial Relations’ release can be found here. For more on the case, see coverage from Eater LA.