Cheesecake Factory Found Liable in Wage Theft Case

The California Department of Industrial Relations said Monday that the Cheesecake Factory, along with a janitorial contractor, was found liable in a $4.2 million wage theft case. The involves hundreds of underpaid janitorial staff at eight of the company’s California locations. The finding sends a strong message to businesses that they will be held accountable for workplace violations—even when workers are hired by contractors.

The case stems from janitors who were contracted to work at Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Orange and San Diego Counties. Workers would begin their shifts around midnight and work until morning without proper breaks for meals or rests. Further, they were not allowed to leave until kitchen managers conducted walkthroughs to review their work. According to the Department of Industrial Relations’ investigation, these walkthroughs often resulted in additional tasks that led to workers logging up to 10 hours of unpaid overtime each week.

The Cheesecake Factory had a contract with Americlean Janitorial Services Corp. Americlean provided janitors to the restaurant from subcontractor Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning, the company responsible for paying the $3.94 million in unpaid wages and $632,750 in penalties. However, if Magic Touch does not pay, then the Cheesecake Factory and Americlean Janitorial Services are responsible for the $4.2 million in fees.

Magic Touch is a San Diego based business. The business was later renamed Z’s Commercial Quality Cleaning. According to the Department of Industrial Relations spokeswoman Erika Monterroza, the name change was “an attempt by the owner to evade enforcement.” Companies that use wage theft as a business practice will get rid of the business under investigation and open a new business. Often, these businesses will use another colleague or relative to start the new business. However, in this case, the owner, Zulma Villegas, opened the new business as herself.

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

Janitorial workers are often paid “way less” than minimum wage. These industries are for the most part cash industries, which can make it difficult to document wages.

If you believe that your employer is not paying you all of the overtime that you deserve contact our firm. Further, we can help you prove that your employer improperly took a portion of your tips or that you are receiving less than the minimum hourly wage. It is in your best interest to consult a Wage Loss/FLSA attorney. Here at The Carlson Law Firm, our lawyers are ready to help you with wage and hour law violations. We handle claims throughout the state of Texas, as well as across the country.

Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation. We would be happy to discuss your claim in confidence and provide free consultations to answer your questions and evaluate your claim.


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