CBS News — Immigrant Workers at SF Restaurant Awarded $316k in Wage Theft Case

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A group of immigrants who worked at a Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco’s Richmond District have been awarded more than $300,000 in a major wage theft case.

Luong Vuong was a waiter for more than a year at the Pho Clement restaurant. He said through a translator on Wednesday that he came forward in August after working 12.5 hour days, 6 to 7 days a week without tips or breaks for about $5 an hour.

Shaw San Liu with the Chinese Progressive Association said that Vuong and seven co-workers were all victims of wage theft.

“Wage theft is one of the many ways in which this economic inequality is manifesting itself and hurting our communities,” she said.

The Association helped the workers sue Pho Clement and a settlement was reached in the case, awarding them $316,000.

Donna Chen with the Department of Labor Standards and Enforcement said their priority is to ensure minimum wage and other work laws are followed.

“We are very proud of you for coming forward to provide us the information and letting us know about your poor working conditions,” said Chen.

It’s estimated that wage theft costs California workers $8 billion a year, with many of the victims immigrants.

Several other investigations have been launched since San Francisco enacted a wage theft ordinance in September.

Anna Duckworth


February 15, 2012