As previously reported, wage theft is a widespread problem in SF’s Chinatown, affecting as many as half of the workers getting paychecks there. A suit filed yesterday by the SF City Attorney’s office, however, would seek to distribute $440,000 in wages to the employees of one restaurant accused of violating state and local work laws.
In a written statement, SF City Attorney and mayoral candidate Dennis Herrera announced that his office had filed suit against Dick Lee Pastry, Inc., a Chinatown restaurant and pastry shop accused of grossly underpaying their workers.
Located at 716 Jackson St., the Yelp-two-starred Dick Lee Pastry, Inc. allegedly only gave out semi-monthly paychecks of $500, which amounted to paying workers between $3.02 and $3.91 an hour, while working 11 to 14 hour shifts. The workers received no overtime, much less even remotely adequate pay, Herrera charges, as SF’s minimum wage is $9.92. The owners of Dick Lee Pastry, Inc., Peter Yu and Ada Chiu, also allegedly treated them poorly in other ways, through verbal abuse and even forcing employees to work as their maids after-hours in their home.
Says Herrera, “Dick Lee Pastry stands out even among the most egregious perpetrators of wage theft in San Francisco.”
In addition to the charges of wage theft filed against Yu and Chiu, the lawsuit also alleges the pair obstructed an investigation done by the City’s Office of Labor Standards Enforcement to first investigate the alleged wage thefts in late 2009.
Yu and Chiu’s attorney, Steven Gruel, has said workers lied and that the case has no merit. He told CBS5 that the owners look forward to clearing their name in court.