June 7, 2018
Christina So, Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
$4.5 Million Citation Issued Against Popular Rangoon Ruby Restaurants
San Francisco, CA – Today Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus announced a Labor Commissioner’s Office citation of over $4.5 million against popular Burmese restaurant chain Rangoon Ruby Burmese Cuisine on behalf of 300 current and former employees. The chain includes Rangoon Ruby locations in Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Carlos, Burlingame, and Belmont, as well as Burma Ruby Burmese Cuisine in Palo Alto.
“We went to Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus because we couldn’t take it anymore,” said a current cook at Rangoon Ruby who wished to remain anonymous. “We were working such long hours. We were so tired and didn’t have time for our families. We hope this case will finally get us the wages that we believe we are owed.”
Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (Advancing Justice – ALC) is representing a group of Rangoon Ruby workers and brought the case to the California Labor Commissioner’s Bureau of Field Enforcement (BoFE).
“The employees who came to us are all back-of-house workers who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation because they have no visibility to the public, are limited-English proficient, don’t know their legal rights, and rely on their employer not just for work but for housing as well. Even though retaliation for asserting your workplace rights is unlawful, workers still, understandably, have fear about coming forward.” said Palyn Hung Mitchell, Staff Attorney at Advancing Justice – ALC. “It makes a big difference when the Labor Commissioner’s BoFE unit can investigate the employer’s practices and pursue the unpaid wages on the workers’ behalf.”
Much of the case focuses on Rangoon Ruby’s practice of paying workers a fixed salary regardless of the number of hours they work. The practice fails to properly compensate kitchen staff for numerous hours spent early morning or late at night to prepare large orders, at times for food delivery apps popular in the Bay Area. The citation also assesses amounts owed for unpaid minimum wages, split shift premiums, and related penalties.
“These types of violations and abuses are all too commonplace in the restaurant industry. The problem can’t just be captured with a dollar sign – the ripple effect impacts families, communities, and our local economy,” said Shaw San Liu, Organizing Director at Chinese Progressive Association. “We applaud the courageous workers for speaking out for their rights, and we applaud Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and BoFE for ensuring that workers receive their rightful pay.”
Advancing Justice – ALC was founded in 1972 as the nation’s first legal and civil rights Asian American organization. Recognizing that social, economic, political and racial inequalities continue to exist in the United States, Advancing Justice – ALC is committed to the pursuit of equality and justice for all sectors of our society, with a specific focus directed toward addressing the needs of low-income, immigrant and underserved Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Visit www.advancingjustice-alc.org.