Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

NATIONAL BRIEFING / NEW YORK

Immigrant workers win back pay

October 22, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

A federal judge ordered a payday for three dozen immigrant delivery workers who toiled for years at New York City restaurants without proper wages.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Dolinger ordered the owner of several popular Vietnamese cafes to pay more than $4.6 million in back wages and overtime dating to 1999, plus fines and penalties, to former employees who said they had received substandard wages.

The court said the 36 workers, all Chinese immigrants, had largely been living off the tips they earned by delivering orders around the city for Saigon Grill restaurants.

"This should be a warning to anyone out there who thinks they can get away with violating the law and failing to pay immigrant workers their rightful wages," said Kenneth Kimerling, an attorney with the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which helped bring the case.

The restaurant didn't question the workers' immigration status but offered little in the way of pay. Their salaries ranged from $340 to $600 per month, no matter how many hours they worked. A few of the delivery workers brought in as much as $4,000 in tips per month by putting in long hours six or seven days a week. But the court said the tip income didn't absolve the restaurant owner of his responsibility to abide by wage laws.

A lawyer for Saigon Grill didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|