Los Angeles Korean BBQ Restaurant Fined For Over $2M For Wage Theft


Los Angeles, CA (Workerscompensation.com)- The owners and officers of two Los Angeles-area restaurants have been ordered to pay fines for unpaid wages, missed rest breaks and other violations, along with civil penalties. In January, the California Labor Commissioner’s Office cited the owners of a Los Angeles restaurant for violating labor laws. Genwa Korean BBQ restaurant, at its Beverly Hills and Mid-Wilshire location in Los Angeles, was fined $2.1 million for several labor violations that affected 325 dishwashers, cooks, and servers. The violations included unpaid overtime, a lack of rest and food breaks, and being paid less than minimum wage.

Genwa Korean BBQ has a total of three locations, with the third in Los Angeles’s Downtown’s South Park, but this restaurant was not listed in the lawsuit. In an article in the Los Angeles Times last year, Korean barbeques were highlighted for wage theft and other labor issues.

Back in 2018, the company was investigated by the Labor Commission after workers from the restaurant contacted the Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance in addition to Bet Tzedek Legal Services to report wage theft against the restaurant. When Genwa’s payroll was audited, the investigators said they uncovered the following: 

  • Full-time staff was required to clock out up to three times per day during an 11-hour shift.
  • All Genwa workers were denied legally mandated rest and meal breaks.
  • More than half were not paid minimum wage.
  • Half of Genwa employees were not given full overtime pay or provided itemized wage statements.
  • Servers were forced to attend quarterly meetings without pay.
  • Some employees were required to attend such meetings on their scheduled days off.

“In cases where corporations commit wage theft, corporate officers can also be held personally liable for wages owed to their employees,” the state’s Department of Industrial Relations Labor Commission said in a press release.  

J.B.K. Wilshire Corporation and Genwa, Inc, along with  corporate officers Jay and Jin Kwon, have been ordered to pay $ 1,428.759 in unpaid wages, missed rest breaks and meal breaks, and split shift premiums. In addition, both entities and Jay and Jin Kwon were slapped with a fine for $633,800 in civil penalties. Employees will receive missing wages and damages, and interest. 

The Labor Commission has noted that the employers have appealed the citations.

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