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Chinese Restaurant Pays $4 Million in a Settlement Due to Labor Violations

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“I don’t get paid nearly enough for what I do.” This is a phrase many of us have heard or even uttered to our fellow coworkers. This sentiment was all too true for the employees of San Francisco’s well-known dim sum restaurant, Yank Sing.

YANKSING30_PH11In 2013, Yank Sing employees sought help from the Chinese Progressive Association and Asian Law Caucus when they confronted the Chan family, the owners of the restaurant, about their numerous labor violations. The list of issues includes:

The Chan family blamed the violations on poor record keeping. In late 2014, the Chan family and its employees were able to reach a settlement deal. Yank Sing agreed to pay $4 million to 280 former and current employees in order to cover the back pay, holiday pay, and other violations.

Julie Su, California Labor Commissioner, and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement handled the investigation. Su stated that such labor violations are common because, “many (businesses) believe that it’s cheaper to break the law…and the costs of getting caught are minimal.”

Sadly, these kinds of labor violations are a common occurrence in Asian restaurants in San Francisco. Many of the employees are new immigrants and do not seek help due to language barriers and a lack of knowledge regarding their legal rights and resources.

Luckily, in this case, Yank Sing acknowledged that it was in the wrong and has even taken steps to improve its work environment. Yank Sing now provides employees with salaries higher than the minimum wage, full health care benefits, vacation days, and other work benefits.

Jessica Tran

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