West Whittier Pizza Hut fined for paying workers below minimum wage
WEST WHITTIER — Three Southern California-based companies that operate two popular restaurants — Original Tommy’s and Pizza Hut — reached a settlement with regulators Monday for violating L.A. County’s minimum wage laws.
As part of the settlement, the restaurants agreed to pay $476,777 in back wages and fines to 132 low-wage workers and the County of Los Angeles.
Based on the review of payroll records of Southern California Pizza Company, a franchisee of Pizza Hut headquartered in the City of Orange, DCBA wage investigators cited the company for violations at six Pizza Hut locations in the county’s unincorporated area, including $19,002 in back wages owed to 36 employees, most of whom worked at the company’s location in the unincorporated community of West Whittier/Los Nietos.
The company agreed to pay back wages and total fines of $60,000 to aggrieved workers and the county.
Following a DCBA investigation, the owners of two companies, Tomdan Enterprises Inc. and Koulax Enterprises Inc. DBA Original Tommy’s World-Famous Hamburgers, have agreed to pay $397,775 in back wages and fines for violating the ordinance.
Investigators found that the companies had underpaid 96 of its employees over three years dating back to July 2016. The companies agreed to pay $147,775 in back wages and $147,000 in fines directly to the affected employees, plus $103,000 in fines to the county.
“During the pandemic, it is crucial that our essential workforce is paid what they are owed. As a former U.S. Secretary of Labor, I am well aware that a smaller paycheck at this critical moment means that some households may have to decide between putting food on the table and paying rent,” said Los Angeles County Chair Pro Tem Hilda L. Solis. “I am pleased that our Department of Consumer and Business Affairs has protected the livelihoods of our essential workers at these two establishments.”
“Paying employees less than permissible by law will simply not be tolerated in the County,” added Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “Employers need to be put on notice.”
“Wage theft always causes harm, but during a pandemic, economic injury and inequity are compounded,” said DCBA Director Joseph M. Nicchitta. “I am proud of our wage enforcement program for helping underpaid workers recover what they are owed during this time of economic uncertainty.”