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Eight Cheesecake Factory restaurants, including the Escondido location, were found liable for millions in wage theft. Courtesy photo
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$1 million settlement reached for Cheesecake Factory janitors

REGION — A $1 million settlement was announced on Tuesday for 589 janitors who were underpaid while working at eight Cheesecake Factory restaurants in San Diego and Orange counties.

The settlement stems from an investigation that began in 2016 regarding alleged wage and hour violations at San Diego County Cheesecake Factory restaurants.

Those janitors were employed by companies that were contracted and subcontracted by the Cheesecake Factory, according to the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, a statewide watchdog organization that investigates allegations of employment law violations.

According to MCTF, the state Labor Commissioner’s Office found workers were often logging up to 10 hours of unpaid overtime every week, and some worked without proper meal or rest breaks.

Naxhili Perez, who previously worked at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant in San Diego, said in a statement, “Many companies think they can hire a contractor and avoid responsibility, but they cannot. If the law is being broken inside your company, you are responsible. Now the Cheesecake Factory understands there are no shortcuts when it comes to workers’ rights.”

The Cheesecake Factory restaurants that were part of the investigation were located at:

– Friars Road, San Diego;

– Harbor Drive, San Diego;

– Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido;

– Brea Mall Way, Brea;

– Spectrum Center Drive, Irvine;

– Edinger Avenue, Huntington Beach;

– Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach; and

– The Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo.

Janitors who worked at those locations between Aug. 31, 2014, and Aug. 31, 2017, were advised to call the Labor Commissioner’s Office at 619-767- 2039 because they may be entitled to wages and damages as part of the settlement.

“California strengthened its laws to remove loopholes that allowed businesses to subcontract services and avoid responsibility to ensure workers are paid what they are owed,” California Labor Commissioner Lilia García- Brower said in a statement. “This settlement is a result of our effort to use enforcement tools which increase compliance, levels the playing field and recovers owed wages for workers.”

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