The Flying Pig was a popular food truck that owner Joe Kim expanded into a brick and mortar restaurant in Little Tokyo. Unfortunately, Kim did not pay his workers for their work. Last October, the State Labor Commissioner determined that four cooks and servers were owed over $20,000 for unpaid wages and overtime, as well as fines for meal break violations and other civil penalties.
The lack of payment took a toll on employees. Cook Noe, who pays tuition for his daughter in college, was forced to rely on food banks while working at The Flying Pig. Another cook, Alejandro, was recovering from chemotherapy while working at the restaurant and his health deteriorated from the lack of meal and rest breaks. Flying Pig’s owner told server Ara Kim that a Korean woman like herself should not act out or demand her rights.
Well over a year after the State Labor Commissioner’s decision, Kim continues to withhold payment despite signing a settlement agreement and payment plan.
Under current law, there are virtually no consequences for an employer like Kim who commits wage theft and refuses to pay. In fact, Kim opened a new Flying Pig location at the upscale food court of the FIGat7th shopping center during the time he refused to pay his former workers.
The situation at The Flying Pig is common among workers who suffer wage theft in Los Angeles. Only 13% of workers who win their wage claims in Los Angeles are able to collect a penny — this makes our city the wage theft capital of the nation, with $26.2 million stolen each week with impunity.