The California Labor Commissioner announced yesterday that multiple Southern California Cheesecake Factory restaurants are guilty of cheating 559 janitorial workers out of their wages.
The investigation began back in December 2016, and eventually found that Cheesecake Factory janitors often worked without proper meal or rest breaks, also logging in up to 10 hours of unpaid overtime each week.
Cheesecake Factory had subcontracted to Americlean Janitorial Services Corp., and their workers were managed by the San Diego-based Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning company.
According to Labor Commissioner Julie Su, Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning owner Zulma Villegas must pay $4.57 million in "unpaid minimum wages and overtime, meal and rest period violations, as well as damages, waiting-time penalties and a failure to provide itemized pay stubs."
Assembly Bill 1897 says that employers are liable for workplace violations, even when the company contracts out the labor.
Under this law, a client employer may also be liable for the subcontractor's owed wages, damages, penalties, and even workers' compensation violations.
But if the state fails to collect the millions from Villegas, Cheesecake Factory and the janitorial firm will be held accountable for the payment.
Cheesecake Factory said in a statement that it takes “matters of this nature very seriously” and it is continuing to “review the allegations and will respond to the wage citation within the time provided.”
The restaurant locations in Southern California include Brea, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Mission Viejo, Escondido and San Diego.