A restaurant in Alameda California is facing severe sanctions for unpaid wage penalties. The California Labor Commissioner recently cited the restaurant for failing to pay overtime, minimum wage, and failing to provide proper rest periods.

Complaints were first filed against the restaurant, Toomie’s Thai Cuisine, in August. The investigation showed that many of the staff, including cooks and servers worked more than 10 hours every day, 7 days a week, and were only paid between $45 to $120 per day. Workers were also required to report for 2 shifts daily, the first shift began in the morning and ended at 2:30pm, then workers were required to recommence at 4:30 pm until the restaurant closed. The investigation of the restaurant also showed additional violations for failure to provide time records and itemized pay statements.

The amount of unpaid wages totaled $373,613. However, the owners of the restaurant are also jointly responsible or an additional $108,200 in penalties for violations of the California labor code.

Labor Commissioner Stepping Up Enforcement

The Labor Commissioner has been increasingly stepping up enforcement of the minimum wage law in recent years. In May the Labor Commissioner released a report that showed that the Labor Commissioner assessed more than 4 times more unpaid minimum wages in 2012 than in 2010. The Labor Commissioner also assessed more than 6 times as much in unpaid overtime during the same period.

Advantages to Filing a Private Lawsuit

Although many individuals, like the above employees, who have not been paid wages elect to submit a claim through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, this is not always the most effective way to recover lost wages. First, you are not able to pursue discovery in labor board claims, so you might not be able to provide sufficient evidence of some violations of the labor code.

Additionally, if you do bring a wage claim an employer has the right to appeal the claim at trial where the complex rules of civil procedure make success for laypersons very difficult. Further, some damages may only be claimed in private lawsuits, including double damages (liquidated damages).

The California employment law attorneys of the Law Offices of Michael S. Cunningham, LLP have many years of experience handling wage and hour cases, including lawsuits for unpaid wages. To schedule a free case evaluation contact us at (951) 213-4786 today.

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