In a stark example of income inequality, employees serving $395 plates at the second-most expensive restaurant in the U.S. were underpaid.
Urasawa, the Beverly Hills restaurant considered to offer some of the best sushi in the country, has been ordered to pay $65,785 in fines and unpaid wages by the California Labor Commissioner.
Commissioner Julie A. Su announced Thursday that employees at the Rodeo Drive hotspot often worked 10.5 hours a day without receiving overtime pay or proper rest and meal breaks. The restaurant also failed to provide its eight workers with itemized wage statements listing hours worked and rate of pay, another violation of the California Labor Code.
To settle the complaint, the restaurant will pay three workers $38,585 in unpaid wages and pay the state a $18,500 penalty for failing to provide wage deduction statements and a $8,700 penalty for failing to pay overtime and provide rest and meal periods.
The Commissioner also slapped two Northern California restaurants with huge fines. Ikebana restaurant, in Salinas, was given a $186,145.88 penalty for failing to provide meal breaks and failing to pay 42 workers minimum wages, overtime and split-shift premiums. Ikebana was also hit with an additional $60,550 penalty for failing to provide accurate wage deduction statements and for violating child labor provisions. Seoul Jung restaurant, in Santa Clara, was hit with a $165,709.29 fine for failing to pay overtime to five workers.
The average check at Urasawa totals $1,111. Hopefully, from now on, the correct portion of that will go to the workers who make it happen.