The Labor Commissioner’s Office recently found Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, Inc. liable in a $4.57 million wage theft case that underpaid 559 janitorial workers managed by Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning. Americlean Janitorial Services Corp., the Cheesecake Factory’s janitorial contractor that subcontracted the work to Magic Touch is also liable. The wage theft occurred at eight locations in Ornage and San Diego counties.
“This case illustrates common wage theft practices in the janitorial industry, where businesses have contracted and subcontracted to avoid responsibility for ensuring workers are paid what they are owed,” said Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su. “Client businesses can no longer shield themselves from liability for wage theft through multiple layers of contracts. Our enforcement benefits not only the workers who deserve to be paid, but also legitimate janitorial businesses that are underbid by wage thieves.”
Investigators found that the janitorial workers began their shifts around midnight and worked until morning without proper meal or rest break periods. After working for eight hours, the Magic Touch workers were not released until Cheesecake Factory kitchen managers conducted walkthroughs to review their work. These walkthroughs would frequently lead to additional tasks that the janitorial workers had to complete before they were released for the day. This resulted in each worker logging up to 10 hours of unpaid overtime each week.
Citations against the Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, Inc. and Americlean Janitorial Services Corp. DBA Allied National Services for $4,206,351 were issued under Labor Code Section 2810.3, which took effect on January 1, 2015. The law holds client employers, that obtain labor from a subcontractor, responsible for their workplace violations. A client employer may be liable for the subcontractor’s owed wages, damages and penalties, as well as workers’ compensation violations.