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Restaurant employees in Los Angeles, California, filed a lawsuit against their employer on September 3, 2019. Tantalum Restaurant, located in Long Beach in Los Angeles County is the Defendant in the lawsuit. Tantalum is owned by Baypointe Enterprises, LLC. It offers a Californian/Asian cuisine and boasts itself as “one of Long Beach’s best-kept secrets.” What the restaurant has not been able to keep as a secret is its allegedly unlawful employment practices.

The Complaint was filed by a former restaurant employee in the California Superior Court for the County of Los Angeles. The lawsuit alleges that the restaurant violated various California labor code sections in the way it treated its employees. It was filed as a proposed class action, wherein the Plaintiff is seeking to represent himself and also all other restaurant employees who worked for Tantalum during the last four years. The plaintiff worked for the LA restaurant as a server until October 2018.

The lawsuit is largely based on two claims: First, the complaint alleges that the defendant failed to afford its employees with California-compliant meal breaks and rest breaks. In California, full time hourly employees are generally entitled to a 30-minute unpaid, duty-free, meal period, as well as two 10-minute, duty-free, paid rest breaks. According to the lawsuit, the defendant did not offer its restaurant employees these mandatory breaks.

Second, the complaint claims that the defendant did not pay its restaurant employees for all the time they spent working for the company. Specifically, the complaint alleges that employees were required to familiarize themselves and memorize the daily specials every day, and were not permitted to clock in until they reviewed those daily specials. As a result, these employees often spent significant time subject to their employer’s control without being paid even minimum wage for that time.

In addition to those claims, the employment class action also alleges the Defendant failed to pay its employees overtime. Furthermore, the complaint contends that these unlawful practices resulted in inaccurate wage statements to the restaurant employees, as well as unpaid wages to numerous terminated employees. Finally, the lawsuit includes a cause of action for unfair business practices, alleging that this conduct also constituted an unfair business practice, as well as a cause of action for violations of the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

The action seeks monetary damages for the unpaid wages and missed breaks. It also seeks monetary penalties for the various labor law violations, as permitted by California law. Finally, the action seeks a court order compelling the defendant to change its employment policies and treat its restaurant employees in accordance with the California Labor Code.

If you know any restaurants employees are are subject to unlawful employment practices, please feel free to contact our office for a free legal consultation with our California employment attorney.