Epicurean and Company is being sued for violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and DC Minimum Wage Act. The lawsuit was filed on July 30 by three plaintiffs who worked overtime on several occasions without adequate compensation. Both branches of Epicurean, Vigor Restaurant and RC CT Avenue Restaurant located at 1225 19th Street NW, as well as the owner and operator Chang Wook Chon, are included in the complaint as “Defendants.” Chon is allegedly responsible for hiring and payment practices for all Epicurean establishments.
According to the Civilian Complaint, the three plaintiffs worked over 40 hours per week without the appropriate FLSA-approved pay rate. The FLSA states that any employee working over 40 hours in a week must be paid “one and one-half times the regular rate at which he is employed.” The complaint also states that one of the plaintiffs, Carmen Yesenia Mejia, reportedly worked “in excess of 40 hours” and “Defendants generally failed to pay her at all.”
The attorneys for the plaintiffs are James & Hoffman, a law firm focusing on labor and employment disputes, and Laura Brown, the Legal Services Director for the D.C. Employment Justice Center who also works at UNITE HERE Local 25, the hotel and restaurant employees’ union in D.C. UNITE HERE is the union for Leo’s Armark workers on campus.
On June 25, 2010, employees filed a lawsuit against Epicurean in a case Ferrufino et. al v Vigor Restaurant, LLC, et al., with similar claims that the company violated the FLSA and D.C. Minimum Wage Act. The Court responded with request for names and addresses of those employees who took part in the collective action. At the time, according to the complaint, “Defendants did not produce to Plaintiffs’ counsel the name or address” of the employees. The plaintiff who was a member of this action did not receive a notice about the Court’s request for this information, and “did not know how to exercise [his] right to join the Ferrufino action,” the Complaint said.
The plaintiffs in the July 30, 2012 action request compensation for unpaid overtime wages, as well as “an equal amount of liquidated damages as required by FLSA and the DC Minimum Wage Act.” The workers also demand coverage for any fees paid to attorneys for filing the action.
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