AsAmNews: Chinese restaurant workers file $230K lawsuit over wage theft, retaliation
By Akemi Tamanaha
Three former employees of Sichuan Taste in Malden, Massachusetts, have filed a lawsuit against the restaurant over wage theft and retaliation.
The workers will be represented by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the Asian Outreach Center (AOC) at Greater Boston Legal Services. AALDEF announced the lawsuit in a press release on Thursday.
The former employees worked at Sichuan Taste at various times between April 2020 and October 2022. They worked in janitorial, dishwashing, kitchen, delivery, host, and wait staff positions.
The litigants are seeking $230,000 in unpaid wages, overtime pay, stolen tips, and damages.
According to the press release, the lawsuit alleges that Sichuan Taste: illegally distributed funds from the tip pool to a manager, failed to pay workers minimum wage and overtime and failed to pay employees during their last few weeks of employment. The lawsuit also claims that a manager threatened workers who tried to organize and ask for their wages.
One of the litigants in the case, Yuan Li, a 21-year-old immigrant from China, says the experience has been stressful.
“When Sichuan Taste failed to pay us, I felt stressed like the other workers. We worked hard to make ends meet, and we needed our money to sustain ourselves. Because of the employer’s actions, we could not move on with our lives,” Li said in a press release.
Sichuan Taste abruptly closed in October 2022, leaving Malden residents confused. A Reddit user even posted a thread on r/Malden. The press release from AALDEF does not explain why the restaurant closed.
Former owners and managers from Sichuan Taste have not yet commented on the lawsuit.