Kern County, California – Kern County’s five Wingstop restaurants, all under the ownership of Clinton Lewis, have been slapped with citations amounting to $3,161,606 by the Labor Commissioner’s Office (LCO) for wage theft violations impacting 551 workers.
The arrangement involved Lewis establishing separate corporate entities for each of his restaurants, suggesting that they were distinct employers. This maneuver resulted in employees missing out on their deserved higher minimum wage, overtime, and meal break premiums when assigned to work across multiple Wingstop outlets owned by him.
The LCO initiated the probe in November 2020 after a labor law violation report from one of the branches. Their inquiry unraveled that from 2019 to 2022, each of the five Wingstop outlets, while all owned by Lewis, operated as unique corporate entities.
Lewis’ tactics involved paying the workers the reduced minimum wage allocated for small employers, who have 25 or fewer staff members. However, LCO deduced that legally speaking, all five outlets combined should be treated as a single employer, thus the staff should have been granted the higher minimum wage reserved for employers with over 25 workers.
To add to this, workers assigned to more than one Wingstop on the same day were denied their rightful overtime pay, and Lewis dodged paying meal break premiums to those scheduled across multiple venues. Off-the-clock work, such as travel time between outlets, also went unpaid.
In response to the Wingstop wage theft issue, the LCO’s Bureau of Field Enforcement has issued citations against the five corporate entities, as well as Clinton Lewis personally. The cited amounts, including interest, are due to be paid directly to the affected 551 employees.
For those facing similar workplace issues or seeking legal advice, contact the California employment attorneys at Labor Law Advocates for expert guidance and representation.
Our team provides the help you need to ensure your rights are respected in the workplace. We fight back against wage theft, unfair labor practices, and other illegal employer actions in California. Call us today for a free consultation.