Are New York City restaurant notorious for exploiting their workers, or are their exploited workers just more likely to sue? Two employees bring this collective and class action against Kin Khao Thai Kitchen, along with Jakrapop Panurach and another person known only as “Bin.” The issues are minimum wage, overtime, reimbursement for tools of the trade, and other matters, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL).
The class for this collective action is present and former non-exempt employees of the defendants at their restaurant between December 3, 2015 and the entry of judgment in this case, who did not receive minimum wages, spread-of-hours pay, or overtime compensation for all hours worked over forty per week, who were not provided wage notices at the time of hiring, in violation of federal and state labor laws.
Plaintiff Hector Placido is a delivery and cleaning workers who has been employed at the restaurant since December 2017. The complaint claims he has worked from 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, for approximately fifty-five hours per week. When he began working at the restaurant, he was paid $10.50 an hour, the correct minimum wage then. Although his wages were raised to $11 in 2018, the correct minimum wage at that time was $12 per hour. Placido was paid at the same rate, no matter how many hours he worked per week.
Also, even though he was working about eleven hours per day, the complaint alleges he was not paid the “spread of hours” premium required by the NYLL, which is an extra hour’s pay at straight time for those who work a shift of more than ten hours in a day.
Plaintiff Geovany Lopez began work for the restaurant in December 2017 as well, as a food preparer, cleaner, and delivery worker. Lopez worked three days per week doing delivery, from 5 pm to 10:30 pm. Although he was paid $8 an hour when he began, the proper minimum wage for tipped employees in the city, he was kept at the same wage when the rate when up to $9 in 2018. The restaurant kept part of his tips.
On Saturdays and Sundays, he worked eleven-hour days and was paid the same as Placido—the correct minimum wage to start, then below minimum wage and without the spread of hours premium. The complaint claims he also did not get any break during the workday.
According to the complaint, both workers were paid in cash, often paid late, and not given the required wage notice. The complaint says neither worker was reimbursed for the purchase or maintenance of the electric bicycle he needed to make deliveries.