A $1 million settlement was announced today for 589 janitors who were underpaid while working at eight Cheesecake Factory restaurants in Orange and San Diego counties.
The settlement stems from an investigation that began in 2016 regarding alleged wage and hour violations at Cheesecake Factory restaurants in San Diego County.
The janitors were employed by companies that were contracted and subcontracted by the restaurant chain, according to the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, a statewide watchdog group that investigates allegations of law violations in the workplace.
MCTF said the state Labor Commissioner’s Office found workers were often logging up to 10 hours of unpaid overtime every week, with some failing get proper meal or rest breaks.
Representatives with The Cheesecake Factory could not be reached for comment.
Naxhili Perez, who previously worked at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant in San Diego, said businesses sometimes think they can hire a contractor and avoid responsibility — but that’s not the case.
“If the law is being broken inside your company, you are responsible,” Perez said in a statement. “Now the Cheesecake Factory understands there are no shortcuts when it comes to workers’ rights.”
Cheesecake Factory restaurants targeted in the investigation:
120 Brea Mall, Brea
600 Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine
7871 Edinger Ave., Huntington Beach
1141 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach
42 The Shops At Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo
7067 Friars Road, San Diego
789 W. Harbor Dr. C-1, San Diego
200 E. Via Rancho Pkwy Suite 370, Escondido
Janitors who worked at those locations between Aug. 31, 2014 and Aug. 31, 2017 are advised to call the Labor Commissioner’s Office at 619-767-2039 because they may be entitled to wages and damages as part of the settlement.
“This settlement is a result of our effort to use enforcement tools which increase compliance, levels the playing field and recovers owed wages for workers,” California Labor Commissioner Lilia García-Brower said in a statement.
California strengthened its laws to remove loopholes that allowed businesses to subcontract services and avoid responsibility to ensure workers are paid what they are owed, she said.