Cheesecake Factory Liable
The Labor Commissioner’s Office found Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, Inc. liable in a $4.5 million wage theft case that underpaid 559 janitorial workers managed by Magic Touch Commercial Cleaning, whose owner was also found liable.
Magic Touch was subcontracted by Cheesecake Factory’s janitorial contractor, Americlean Janitorial Services Corp., to clean the restaurants at night. Investigators found that janitorial workers were required to work through the night without proper meal and rest breaks and were not released until Cheesecake Factory kitchen managers conducted walk-throughs to review their work.
The Labor Commissioner addressed head-on the issue of businesses contracting and subcontracting with the intent of avoiding responsibility for ensuring that workers are paid what they are owed, stating “client businesses can no longer shield themselves from liability for wage theft through multiple layers of contracts.” Citations were thereafter issued against Cheesecake Factory and its janitorial contractor under the California Labor Code Section 2810.3, which holds client employers responsible for their subcontractor’s workplace violations.
Keep the Workplace Working
Employers should not assume that by contracting and subcontracting, such as for janitorial services, they are relieved of the responsibility of ensuring workers are paid appropriately. The California Legislature and the Labor Commissioner have made their intentions clear. Client businesses cannot hide behind contracts and subcontracts to avoid responsibility for safeguarding workers from not being paid what they are owed.