Brickhouse Cafe Sued for Alleged Wage and Hour Violations

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A former cook of the SOMA eatery is alleging he was paid in cash and his hourly rate trailed minimum wage in San Francisco. He further claims defendants failed to pay overtime, provide meal and rest periods and compensate for sick time, among other Labor Code violations.

Whether true or not in this case, there are employers who think it is a good idea to pay in cash. It is not. Checks provide a much better record of what was paid. Employers paying in cash almost never provide a wage statement, which the Labor Code requires. And, it looks bad, since it suggests, rightly or wrongly, an attempt to unlawfully employ an illegal immigrant and/or to evade taxes.

The case raises another interesting issue in employment law: who can be held liable for wage and hour violations. In this case, an LLC with the restaurant’s name was sued as well as an individual.

In general, California law does not impose personal liability on corporate officers or directors for wages owed by a corporate employer. Individuals are not totally off the hook, however. The Labor Code authorizes civil penalties against any employer or other person acting on behalf of an employer who causes overtime pay violations or fails to pay minimum wages. In addition, the federal FLSA expressly imposes wage claim liability on “any person” acting on behalf of the employer, including its officers and directors. Where corporate formalities are not followed, plaintiffs can pursue an alter ego theory.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are  based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm,Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.


Categories: Wage and Hour

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