California Labor Commissioner Issues over $500,000 in Citations to Restaurants

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OAKLAND — California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su said March 13 she has issued citations totaling nearly $505,000 to three restaurants for minimum wage, overtime and rest break violations, among others.

Located at 218 N. Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills, Urasawa has been ranked as one of the most expensive restaurants in the Los Angeles area. (CBS)

The restaurants cited are Urasawa restaurant of Beverly Hills, Ikebana Restaurant of Salinas and Seoul Jung of Santa Clara.

“All workers are entitled to payment for work they perform. These citations serve as an important reminder that the Labor Commissioner’s Office continues to effectively fight on behalf of California workers and law-abiding businesses,” said Christine Baker, director of the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), which oversees the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), commonly referred to as the Labor Commissioner’s Office.

“These cases demonstrate that wage theft is not just a problem in parts of the state typically associated with the underground economy,” said Su. “We are committed to ensuring a just day's pay for a hard day's work whether you wash dishes and wait tables in Chinatown or Beverly Hills. The labor laws of our state should be respected in every workplace in California.”

The Labor Commissioner’s investigation at Urasawa, a renowned sushi bar located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, found that the kitchen staff regularly worked 10.5 hours each day without overtime pay, rest breaks or meal period breaks. The restaurant further failed to provide the workers itemized wage statements listing hours worked and rate of pay, as required by law.

Three workers are due $38,585 in unpaid wages such as overtime and meal or rest breaks, while an $18,500 penalty was issued for failure to provide wage deduction statements and $8,700 penalty for failure to pay overtime and to provide rest and meal periods. Urasawa, a corporation, employs eight workers.

Ikebana restaurant, owned by Jiyun Kim, was assessed $186,145.88 for failure to pay 42 workers minimum wages, overtime and split shift premiums and failure to provide meal breaks. Additionally, a $60,550 civil penalty was issued to Ikebana for failure to provide employees with accurate wage deduction statements and for violating child labor provisions.

Seoul Jung, jointly owned by Kim and Janice Yangee Ko, was assessed $165,709.29 for failing to pay overtime premiums to five workers. The citations issued to the two Northern California restaurants total $439,604.67, including penalties. During the period audited, Ikebana employed a staff of up to 14 workers, while Seoul Jung employed six workers.

The Labor Commissioner's Office adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints and enforces state labor law. Additional information on labor laws and work-related topics are available on its website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints may call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at (866) 924-9757 for recorded information on a variety of work-related topics.

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