The New York Times reported that one of the country’s most renowned sushi restaurants, Urasawa, in Beverly Hills is facing a lawsuit for unpaid overtime by one of the restaurant’s kitchen workers. http://tinyurl.com/mkh5yjs
It was reported that the kitchen employee, Heriberto Zamora, is suing for back pay because he was working nearly 60 hours a week for $11.50 an hour without overtime pay. What is unusual about this story is that Urasawa is a very exclusive restaurant on Rodeo Drive where a meal for two people can easily top $1,000. A 2009 study by the Labor Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, found that there were an average of $26 million worth of wage violations each week in Los Angeles.
California Labor Commissioner Julie Su issued a citation to Urasawa last month fining the restaurant $55,000 for failing to pay overtime and failing to give breaks to Mr. Zamora and three other employees, as well as minimum wage, overtime and rest break violations.
The employment lawyers at the Tran Law Firm represent California workers whose employers have denied them the overtime and minimum pay they deserve. Since the employee that sued Urasawa earned $11.50 an hour, all hours that he worked over 40 in a week ( beyond 8 hours a day) should have been paid at an overtime rate of $17.25. This overtime pay represents one and a half times his regular rate of pay of $11.50. If he had worked over twelve 12 hours a day the overtime pay would have been $23.00 an hour. This is a good example of how the California overtime statute is different and in many cases more generous than the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
California Overtime law
Under California overtime law, an employer generally must pay non-exempt employees:
One and a half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked beyond 40 a week.
One and a half times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked beyond 8 hours a day, up to and including 12 hours.
One and a half times their regular rate of pay for all hours on the seventh consecutive day of work, up to and including 8 hours.
Double times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours a day.
Double times their regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 8 hours a day on the seventh consecutive day of work.
In certain circumstances, long work hours without overtime premium pay may violate the California Minimum wage law. As of January 1, 2008, the California minimum hourly wage is $8.00 an hour. Under California law, this is generally the lowest wage employers are allowed to pay their employees.
Fair Labor Standards Act
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) all non exempt employees covered by the Act must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek at a rate not less than time and one-half their regular rates of pay. California workers enjoy an advantage in that they can recover unpaid minimum wage and overtime under the state statute or under the FLSA.