SF Gate — San Francisco / Restaurant Must Pay $1 Million to Workers

The Golden Dragon, a Chinatown restaurant that was closed because of health violations in January, must pay more than $1 million in back wages and penalties to 37 workers for violating the city’s minimum wage law, an administrative hearing officer has ruled.

The restaurant’s former owners, Jack Lee and Big Hong Ng, were also ordered to pay as much as $871,300 to the city for the cost of investigating the case.

The city began its investigation in March 2005 after nine employees complained that the Golden Dragon was paying them less than the minimum wage in San Francisco, which was least $8.50 an hour in 2004 and $8.62 in 2005. The case was later expanded to include employees who had been paid nothing for some of their work.

The employees kept working because the restaurant kept promising to pay them, said Alex Tom, a coordinator for the Chinese Progressive Association, which helped the workers take their case to city officials.

In January, the city shut down the restaurant at 822 Washington St. for health code violations. It reopened in May as the Imperial Palace under the ownership of Ng’s sister, Winnie Ng.

The Golden Dragon was best known as the scene of a 1977 gangland shooting in which five bystanders were killed and 11 injured.

by Vanessa Hua (SF Gate)

2006-10-07 04:00

Link: Restaurant Must Pay $1 Million to Workers