SF Weekly — Local Immigrants Win Wage-Theft Case Against Richmond District Restaurants

SAN FRANCISCO – A group of immigrants have prevailed in a wage theft case in which they accused their employers at two Vietnamese restaurants in the Richmond of not paying them their earned wages in full.

KCBS reports that some workers at Pho Clement and Pho Clement 2 were recently awarded more than $316,000 in overtime wages that were never paid out. California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su brought the suit against the Pho Clement restaurants after employees complained they were working more hours than they were getting paid for.As we all know, California law states that an employer must pay overtime to any employee who works more than eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week. When an employee works more than eight hours in a day, or beyond six consecutive days, they are entitled to one-and-a-half times their regular rate of pay. An employee is due double their amount of regular pay when he or she works beyond right hours on the seventh consecutive working day, or if he or she works beyond 12 hours in one workday.

KCBS tells us about one of the restaurant’s former employees, Luong Vuong, who worked as a waiter for more than a year at the Pho Clement restaurant. In August, Vuong reported that he had been “working 12.5 hour days, six to seven days a week without tips or breaks for about $5 an hour.”

According to the settlement, the employers must pay each of the eight employees an amount ranging between $17,432 up to $85,114, depending upon the amount of unpaid wages they were owed.

“This case is an example of the effective partnerships we can have with community based organizations who share the goal of strong enforcement of labor laws,” said Labor Commissioner Julie Su. “The Asian Law Caucus, Chinese Progressive Association, and the Progressive Workers Alliance assisted us in conducting the thorough investigation that led to our ability to get the wages owed into workers’ pockets.”

Pho Clement 2 has been closed for several weeks, and the original location on Clement Street changed its name to “Good Noodle Restaurant” in early January. No word on whether these changes are temporary or a permanent result of this settlement.

Erin Sherbert

SF Weekly