ALAMEDA, CA (June 3, 2020) – The Alameda Superior Court entered judgment yesterday approving a $1.3 million class action settlement between current and former kitchen employees of the popular Bay Area Burma Superstar restaurants, and the owners and operators of the local chain. The class is represented by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (ALC), Centro Legal de la Raza, and Legal Aid at Work.
“I’m really proud that we spoke up for ourselves and the other kitchen workers and made real changes,” said William Navarrette, one of the class representatives.
The settlement is for a class of about 350 current and former kitchen workers at the Burma Superstar, Burma Love, and B star restaurants in San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda. The workers alleged that the chain failed to pay minimum and overtime wages, split shift premiums, and sick leave, did not provide adequate meal and rest breaks, and unlawfully retaliated against employees.
“We are honored to represent the lead plaintiffs, who chose to bring this case not just for themselves but for all the kitchen staff in the restaurants, across different languages and cultural backgrounds,” said Winnie Kao, Senior Counsel at Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.
In addition to paying the $1.3 million settlement and addressing the alleged violations, the restaurants also agreed to restore tips to all kitchen staff; restore holiday and time off benefits; translate employee handbooks and workplace rules into Burmese, Spanish, and Chinese; provide workers’ rights training during paid time to staff and management; revise language regarding meal period waivers; and establish designated rest areas in each restaurant.
“Now, more than ever, collective action is critical to improving conditions for immigrant workers and workers of color,” said Jesse Newmark, Litigation Director for Centro Legal de la Raza. “These are the frontline workers who risk their own health and safety to provide essential services for all of us, and today they came together and proudly stood up for the rights of workers everywhere.”
As the restaurant industry strives to recover, workers cannot be left behind. “We hope that this settlement will inspire better working conditions for kitchen staff in restaurants across the Bay Area, one of the food capitals of the world,” said Carole Vigne, Director of the Wage Protection Program at Legal Aid at Work. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the gaping holes in our country’s safety nets and widened the inequalities that exist. We hope better jobs await restaurant workers as they return to work.”
For additional information about the settlement, please visit www.burmasuperstarsettlement.com.
A copy of the Order and Final Approval of Judgment can be found here.
About Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus (ALC)
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, 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. https://www.advancingjustice-alc.org/
About Centro Legal de la Raza
Founded in 1969, Centro Legal de la Raza is an Oakland-based nonprofit organization that has provided legal services to low-income and immigrant clients throughout Central and Northern California for more than fifty years. Centro Legal provides direct legal services and engages in impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community outreach and education for the rights of workers, tenants, and other immigrant clients and communities. https://www.centrolegal.org/
About Legal Aid at Work
Legal Aid at Work is a nonprofit legal services organization that has been assisting low-income working families for more than 100 years. Its programs conduct outreach, provide direct legal services to thousands of people each year, engage in litigation, and advocate for policies that strengthen the rights of low-income people. More information about Legal Aid at Work can be found at www.legalaidatwork.org.