Pei Wei Fast Food Settles Employee Abuse Lawsuit

A federal judge in Orange County has finalized a class action employee lawsuit against Pei Wei Asian Diner LLC with the corporation paying $600,000 to settle pre-trial claims of systemic abuses.

Lead plaintiff Daniel Hernandez filed his lawsuit in April 2017, claiming Pei Wei management violated California Labor Code provisions by failing to: provide required meal breaks, produce accurate wage statements and pay earned wages timely.

Lawyers for the corporation asked U.S. District Court Judge Josephine L. Staton to dismiss the complaint before the employees could obtain Pei Wei records, but she refused.

As discovery took place, the parties entered arbitration, which resulted in a tentative 2018 agreement with a class of 2,125 employees, who had worked shifts longer than five hours from April 2014 to April 2017 without getting a meal break.

This month inside the Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse in Santa Ana, Staton declared the deal “fair, reasonable and adequate.”

After plaintiffs’ attorney fees and costs are deducted, the employee pool is estimated to be slightly more than $341,000.

Hernandez, a terminated company employee, was also given an enhanced award of $5,000 for his primary role in the litigation.

Pei Wei, which changed its name to Pei Wei Asian Kitchen last year, has locations throughout the U.S. as well as in South Korea, Mexico, Kuwait and Dubai.

The 2000-created chain is a subsidiary of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.

CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; featured in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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