California fines Cheesecake Factory for wage violations Laszlo Regos Photography

California fines Cheesecake Factory for wage violations

The chain shares responsibility with a janitorial subcontractor for $4.6 million

California State Labor Commissioner’s Office found Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, Inc. liable in a $4.6 million wage theft case that underpaid 559 janitorial workers on Monday.

“We take matters of this nature very seriously,” said Sidney Greathouse, Cheesecake Factory’s vice president of legal services responded to the violations by email.

 “We are continuing to review the allegations and will respond to the wage citation within the time provided.”

The workers were managed by Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning in eight Cheesecake Factory locations in Orange and San Diego counties. Americlean Janitorial Services Corp., the Cheesecake Factory’s janitorial contractor that subcontracted the work to Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning, is also liable for the wage theft.

“This case illustrates common wage theft practices in the janitorial industry, where businesses have contracted and subcontracted to avoid responsibility for ensuring workers are paid what they are owed,” labor commissioner Julie A. Su said in a news release.

“Client businesses can no longer shield themselves from liability for wage theft through multiple layers of contracts. Our enforcement benefits not only the workers who deserve to be paid, but also legitimate janitorial businesses that are underbid by wage thieves.”

The release says that janitorial workers began their shifts around midnight and worked until morning without proper meal or rest break periods. The workers were not released until Cheesecake Factory kitchen managers review their work, the release says, which would frequently lead to additional tasks resulting in workers logging up to 10 hours of unpaid overtime each week.

Cheesecake Factory was charged under California Assembly Bill 189. According to the news release, “the law holds client employers that obtain labor from a subcontractor responsible for their workplace violations. A client employer may be liable for the subcontractor’s owed wages, damages and penalties, as well as workers’ compensation violations.”

The Cheesecake Factory locations investigated include:

• Brea Mall Way, Brea
• Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach
• Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine
• The Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo
• Edinger Avenue, Huntington Beach
• Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido
• Friars Road, San Diego
• Harbor Drive, San Diego

Contact Gloria Dawson at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @gloriadawson 

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