CBS5 reported last night on poor labor practices at popular dim sum spot Hong Kong Lounge I on Geary near 18th Avenue.
Back in 2012, restaurant owner Ming Lian Zhou was accused of failing to pay overtime to 48 employees and was directed to pay near $93,000 in back pay to the affected employees. Zhou turned over certified letters to the DOL, claiming he had paid the employees.
But he was lying, and told his employees to lie about receiving their back pay. By 2013, Zhou still had not paid the employees so the Department of Labor required Zhou to pay the DOL directly so that checks could then be issued to the employees.
But that was not the end of the matter. Zhou then told his employees they had to cash the DOL checks they received and give the money back to him. As in a kickback. Zhou allegedly reduced hours, changed employee schedules, and terminated employees who failed to comply with his kick back instructions.
On Wednesday, Zhou appeared for his arraignment in federal court on charges of violating federal labor laws, and threatening workers while withholding wages. He was released on $50,000 bail.
If convicted, Zhou could face up to 25 years in prison.