San Francisco fast food workers just won a landmark case against two Burger King franchise owners. The California Labor Commissioner’s Office ruled in favor of 230 workers who made their case against owners Monu Singh and Harkiran “Romi” Randhawa for unlawful working conditions, leading to a $2.2 million settlement. The decision came on December 19 and the total bill, which accounts for more than $724,000 in unpaid wages plus interest, and $1.2 million in penalties, must be paid within 45 days. “I am happy that justice is being served,” Daniel Marini, a former Burger King employee, said in a press release.
The franchise group, Golden Gate Restaurant Group, Inc., brought this most recent decision on themselves. The group comprises five Burger King locations throughout San Francisco, and in 2020 the business was cited for pressuring employees to work off the clock and through their meal and rest breaks. Singh and Randhawa’s appeal of the citation led to a 13-day hearing between April and June 2022 wherein eight former employees testified about the working conditions at the various Burger King locations.
The last year was a momentous one for fast food workers and labor rights. The Starbucks Union gained serious traction throughout California, with the first locations in the state to officially unionize in Santa Cruz. Peet’s Coffee employees in Davis are borrowing notes from the same playbook as they seek union representation this month. And Assembly Bill 257, which passed in fall 2022, created the first-ever fast food council, a 13-person governing body that works with the state to ensure workers are respected and compensated in the industry.