Dick Lee Pastry in Chinatown. [Photo: Eater National]
Good news for Chinatown workers: the city of San Francisco notched its largest wage-theft settlement ever yesterday, as Dick Lee Pastry agreed to pay $525,000 in stolen wages. As the Chron reports, the working conditions set by owners Peter Yu and Ada Chiu were outrageous, with Chinese immigrant workers who spoke little English forced to work 11-hour days for only $4 per hour (far less than the SF minimum wage of $9.92 when the case was filed; it's $10.55 now). Some workers were also obligated to perform extracurricular tasks like cleaning the owners' Telegraph Hill home and handing out leaflets; one worker, who was with the restaurant from 2005 to 2010, was owed more than $89,000 in back pay.
The owners of the unfortunately named Dick Lee, which is an all-you-can-eat buffet spot offering dim sum and pastries, are alleged to have given employees fake three-hour work schedules and paid workers in cash to avoid taxes. It's estimated that wage-theft situations like this cost the state of California more than $7 billion a year; SF is one of the most aggressive pursuers of those who shirk the law, collecting $7.4 million in back pay for employees and $526,000 in penalties since enacting the minimum-wage law in 2004.
· SF restaurant pays back wages, fines [Chron]