The Labor Commissioner’s Office in California has 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 Commercial Cleaning, is also liable for the wage theft, which occurred at eight locations in Orange and San Diego counties.
The affected workers are due $3.94 million in minimum wages, overtime, liquidated damages, waiting time penalties and meal and rest period premiums.
“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.
“This case illustrates common wage theft practices in the janitorial industry.”
The Cheesecake Factory locations investigated include: Brea Mall Way in Brea, Spectrum Center Drive in Irvine, Edinger Avenue in Huntington Beach, Newport Center Drive in Newport Beach, The Shops at Mission Viejo in Mission Viejo, Via Rancho Parkway in Escondido, Friars Road in San Diego, and Harbor Drive in San Diego.
Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning owner Zulma Villegas must pay $3,936,359 to the workers for unpaid minimum wages and overtime, liquidated damages, waiting time penalties and meal and rest period violations. The citations also include $632,750 for failure to provide properly itemized pay stubs and other civil penalties. During the Labor Commissioner’s investigation which began in December 2016, Villegas changed her business name and began operating as Z’s Commercial Quality Cleaning. Both businesses are subject to the citations.
Employees with work-related questions or complaints may contact The California Dept. of Industrial Relations (DIR) Call Center in English or Spanish at 844-LABOR-DIR (844-522-6734).