42-44 East Broadway Restaurant Inc.—which does business as Hwa Yuan Szechuan—and one individual owner have been hit with a proposed collective action over alleged wage and hour abuses and sexual harassment.
The plaintiff, a former baker at the restaurant, claims she worked between 63 and 69 hours each week during her tenure for a fixed monthly salary of $3,500. According to the complaint, the plaintiff was deprived of proper time-and-a-half overtime wages for hours worked in excess of 40 each week, as well as “spread of hours” pay, which is required under New York law for shifts that last longer than 10 hours. Further, the plaintiff alleges she did not receive a proper wage notice upon being hired or accurate wage statements throughout her employment.
Citing New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), the suit goes on to claim the defendants fostered a hostile work environment in which the owner regularly harassed female employees. The case charges that between February and March 2018, the restaurant’s owner “engaged in numerous acts of sexual harassment and gender discrimination” toward the plaintiff. As explained in the complaint:
“[The defendant] has on numerous occasions touched Plaintiff unwelcomely and inappropriately, including grabbing Plaintiff’s hands and stroking Plaintiff’s hands, squeezing Plaintiff’s waist, pulling Plaintiff close to him and attempting to kiss Plaintiff.”
The defendant abused his authority when he “rewarded” employees who did not fight against his advances by giving them promotions or preferred work duties, the suit further claims. The plaintiff alleges that in July 2018, she was wrongfully discharged by the defendants for rejecting the owner’s advances.