Press Release

Korean Workers Protest at Palisades Park, NJ Restaurant



Palisades Park, NJ– The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s New Jersey- Asian American Legal Project (AALDEF NJ-AALP) and former employees of Dokdo Sarang Restaurant held a protest outside of Dokdo Sarang Restaurant today on Broad Avenue in Palisades Park, New Jersey demanding all of the unpaid wages owed to them from David Hwa Young Yoon and Vivian Jin Sook Kim, the owner and former owner respectively of Dokdo Sarang Restaurant. The workers and their supporters gathered and protested in solidarity with signs reading, “Pay the workers now!” and “Shame on you!”

The former workers have filed claims with the New Jersey State Department of Labor against Dokdo Sarang Restaurant asserting that they are owed tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Although the workers toiled up to seven days a week for close to 80 hours each week, the employers repeatedly broke their promises and failed to properly pay them for their work. The labor claims also assert that the employers even issued bad checks to the workers.

Mr. Kim, former sushi chef at Dokdo Sarang Restaurant, said, “Many of us started working at the restaurant from the time it opened and dedicated a lot of hard work to help the business thrive. We trusted our bosses and gave them many chances to pay us, but they broke their promises and took advantage of us.”

Elizabeth Koo, AALDEF NJ-AALP Program Associate, said, “Hard work deserves fair pay.
The workers put in months of hard labor but the employers refuse to compensate them for the wages they rightfully earned. They are committed to work together to assert their rights to be paid, to prove that workers have power, and to show that employers will not get away with breaking the law.”

Mr. Lee, former cook at Dokdo Sarang Restaurant, said, “We have suffered greatly from the bosses’ lies. The business is still thriving but we are struggling. We have to make rent, pay for other living expenses, and support our families. We demand to be paid immediately. We cannot wait any longer.”

Alexander Saingchin, AALDEF Staff Attorney said, “Workers have the right to be paid at least the minimum wage and overtime pay regardless of their immigration status. The minimum wage in New Jersey is now $7.25 per hour. Moreover, workers are entitled to 1.5 times their hourly wage for each hour worked over 40 hours a week.”

Since 2005, AALDEF NJ-AALP has conducted free legal clinics in northern and central New Jersey to assist Asian immigrants and Asian Americans with employment and immigration matters. NJ-AALP has worked closely with the Korean immigrant community by providing free legal advice, conducting ‘Know Your Rights’ seminars, and representing Korean immigrant workers in lawsuits for unpaid wages, minimum wage, and overtime violations. NJ-AALP won more than $300,000 in back wages on behalf of Asian immigrants working in New Jersey. Individuals seeking assistance may contact the AALDEF NJ-AALP helpline at (888) 406-1555. Korean language assistance is available.

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