Press Release

Jing Fong Banquet Hall Brought Back to Court for Labor Violations

28 Workers File in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of N.Y.

New York, NY—Citing illegal tips practices and other labor law violations, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and the law firm of Alterman & Boop LLP have filed a suit on behalf of 28 workers against Chinatown banquet hall Jing Fong, in U.S. District Court for the South District of New York (Chen v. Jing Fong Restaurant) this afternoon, alleging that the restaurant unlawfully kept portions of banquet gratuities following large parties, in addition to cheating the workers of regular tips left by individual customers, in violation of New York Labor Law.

Jing Fong—one of the largest restaurants in Chinatown—has failed to pay minimum wage and overtime to the 28 wait staff and bussers in outright violation of its October 1997 settlement agreement in prior litigation, Chan v. Jing Fong Restaurant, Inc., 97 Civ. 0388 (JSR). The restaurant had then been required to pay $1,145,000 in restitution and damages to the waiters and bussers then employed.

Said AALDEF Legal Director Ken Kimerling, “As in an earlier ruling in federal court, the case upholds the rights of Jing Fong workers and other workers who depend on tips from large banquets and individual tables alike.”

The workers—all Chinese immigrants—also did not receive proper minimum wage and overtime although they regularly worked more than 40 hours a week at Jing Fong. The plaintiffs were organized by the Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association.