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SF Chinatown Restaurant Accused Of Minimum Wage Violations

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The city of San Francisco has filed a lawsuit against Chinatown restaurant Dick Lee Pastry, Inc., claiming it violated the city's minimum wage law.

Seven employees of the restaurant said they received semi-monthly wages of approximately $550, which averages between $3.02 and $3.91 per hour. San Francisco's current minimum hourly wage is $9.92.

In late 2009, a worker complained to the city that employees were being paid for three or four hours of work, but required to work up to eleven hours.

KCBS' Barbara Taylor Reports:

Donna Levitt with the San Francisco Office of Labor Standard Enforcement said the subsequent investigation turned up one of the most egregious violations of the minimum wage law she has ever seen.

"Workers have complained about not only the low pay, but also poor treatment," said Levitt. "The owners yelling at them and some workers had to even work as maids at the owner's house after their hours at the restaurant."

Steven Gruel, who represents Dick Lee Pastry owners Peter Yu and Ada Chiu, said workers lied and the case has no merit.

"It is comical to think that Dick Lee Pastry would have their workers go and become something tantamount to slaves," Gruel said. "It just isn't true."

Gruel said the owners look forward to clearing their name in court.

The city is seeking $440,000 in wages plus interest for the seven employees, who according to the complaint, have worked at the restaurant for periods ranging from more than a decade to less than a year.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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