Employment Law – Urasawa is the latest restaurant to be fined for paystub violations

Urasawa is the most expensive restaurant in Los Angeles, with an average bill of $1,111, and gets rave reviews.   However, this acclaim and charging these prices apparently did not prevent Urasawa from cutting corners when paying at least 3 of their employees.  As a result, Urasawa was recently fined by the California Labor Commissioner for violations ranging from unpaid overtime to unpaid rest and meal breaks to the failure to provide the proper information on their employee’s paystubs.  The total fine for these violations was about $65,000.

We previously reported on the requirements for rest and meal breaks.  Overtime violations are also fairly well known and those requirements can be found here.  What is less well known are the requirements for providing information on employee paystubs or wage statements.  Those requirements are found in California Labor Code section 226, which are the following (courtesy of the California Department of Industrial Relations):

Pursuant to Labor Code Section 226(a), semimonthly or every time you are paid your wages, whether by check, in cash, or otherwise, you must be given a detachable part of the check or a separate writing showing required information.  Note: Effective January 1, 2008, only the last four digits of your social security number, or an employee identification number other than a social security number may be shown on the itemized statement. (Labor Code Section 226(a)(7))  The following information is required to be on your itemized statement:

  1. Gross wages earned
  2. Total hours worked (not required for salaried exempt employees)
  3. The number of piece-rate units earned and any applicable piece rate if the employee is paid on a piece rate basis
  4. All deductions (all deductions made on written orders of the employee may be aggregated and shown as one item)
  5. Net wages earned
  6. The inclusive dates of the period for which the employee is paid
  7. The name of the employee and the last four digits of his or her social security number or an employee identification number other than a social security number
  8. The name and address of the legal entity that is the employer
  9. All applicable hourly rates in effect during the pay period, and the corresponding number of hours worked at each hourly rate by the employee

For examples of what a proper wage statement are, click here for a hourly employee and click here for a piece rate employee (a worker paid by the amount of work completed): again courtesy of the California Department of Industrial Relations.

If an employer does not provide the proper paystub or wage statement, the penalites can add up pretty fast: up to $50 for the first improper paystub, plus $100 for each additional improper paystub until the total penalties are $4,000, plus costs and attorney fees.  Since the $4,000 limit applies to EACH employee, a company with multiple employees can find itself paying a pretty large sum of money.

For more on this case, see this CNN blog and LA Times article.

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