Los Angeles County Minimum Wage Investigation Results in Over Half-Million-Dollar Settlement for Underpaid Essential Restaurant Workers in East and South Los Angeles
Company Operating Wingstop Locations Agrees to Pay Back Wages, Fines; LA County Minimum Wage Increases to $16.90 Per Hour
AMTV/LOS ANGELES, July 18 – The Los Angeles County Office of Labor Equity, within the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA), announced the completion of the largest settlement since the County’s Minimum Wage Ordinance went into effect in 2016. The settlement involves allegations of wage violations over four years affecting 309 employees at two independently owned and operated Wingstop restaurants in the unincorporated communities of East Los Angeles and Walnut Park.
Following a DCBA investigation, the Wingstop restaurants’ owner-operators, Far West Restaurant Group, LLC, agreed to a settlement of $667,414.05 for alleged violations which took place from 2017 to 2021, during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, when restaurant employees were considered essential workers. The settlement includes employee back wages of $192,414.05, fines to employees of $288,621.00, plus fines to the County of $186,379.00.
The investigation was initiated after an individual contacted DCBA to ask about the correct minimum wage in unincorporated Los Angeles County.
“I thank the worker that raised the question about the right minimum wage and the Office of Labor Equity for seeing this concern through,” said LA County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, whose First Supervisorial District includes East Los Angeles. “Every worker deserves a fair and safe work environment where exploitation and abuse have no place and, regardless of immigration status, our workers deserve to be informed, heard, and protected.”
“We will not tolerate corporate excess profiting off the backs of our working families. I am glad to see that the County is holding Wingstop accountable for the harm caused and money owed to its employees,” said LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, whose Second Supervisorial District includes Walnut Park. “This serves as an example of the work our Office of Labor Equity will continue to do Countywide to make sure workers are paid the wages they are entitled to.”
“DCBA is here to help the residents of Los Angeles County thrive and improve their financial wellbeing. Our mission with businesses and workers is clear: Honest work for fair pay, no matter the industry – we must value and care for our workers,” said Rafael Carbajal, Director of the LA County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. “We welcome the public to contact DCBA if they ever have a question, concern, or doubt about their rights. Our assistance is free.”
The settlement includes automatic disbursements which will be included in the paychecks of affected employees—one as much as $17,000, inclusive of back wages and fines, equivalent to more than one-half of an average worker’s annual wages paid at the minimum wage rate. DCBA also connects impacted workers with wraparound services that include DCBA’s Center for Financial Empowerment, Office of Immigrant Affairs, and other relevant support. If you are a former employee of these Wingstop locations, please contact the Office of Labor Equity at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the settlement.
As of July 1, 2023, the minimum wage for workers who perform more than two hours of work per week in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County has increased to $16.90 an hour. DCBA encourages all business owners in unincorporated LA County to reach out for information and assistance regarding their rights and responsibilities to remain in compliance with the minimum wage and other ordinances. To contact the Office of Labor Equity, visit workers.lacounty.gov, email email@example.com, or call (800) 593-8222 to speak with a representative.