FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IR #2008-71
December 15, 2008

CONTACT:
Erika Monterroza
Dean Fryer
(415) 703-5050
Internet: www.dir.ca.gov


CA Labor Commissionersí decision upheld; $246,000 judgment entered

Los Angeles –A California Labor Commissioner decision was upheld and additional reparations awarded in a civil lawsuit totaling over $246,000 in a case appealing an unpaid wage claim decision against a Hungarian restaurant located in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Superior Court on upheld the decision November 17 and entered judgment against Csardas Restaurant and Bakery on Dec. 11.

“We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict and the Judge’s decision to award additional damages to these workers in light of their employer’s failure to pay California’s minimum wage,” said Bradstreet.  “The Labor Commissioner’s office will continue to enforce California’s labor codes through the pursuit of unpaid wages and penalties on behalf of those workers who are not provided California’s basic protections.”

The four former employees of CSARDAS, INC., dba CSARDAS RESTAURANT and BAKERY initially filed with the Labor Commissioner’s Office a claim for unpaid wages earned between June 2002 and June 2005. They were awarded $115,423.64 for unpaid minimum and overtime, meal and rest period violations under Labor Code 226.7, interest, and waiting time penalties under Labor Code 203.

The owner appealed the Labor Commissioner’s decision and the matter came before the Honorable Judge Mary Thornton House and a jury in May 2008 of the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Central District.

The jury came to a decision on June 9 awarding the former employees $87,373.01 in unpaid wages, leaving the judge to determine additional damages, interest and attorney fees.  

After the jury’s verdict, the Labor Commissioner sought “liquidated damages” pursuant to Labor Code 1194.2 which allows the Labor Commissioner to recover additional damages in an amount equal to unpaid minimum wages.

On Nov. 17, the judge awarded $27,827.16 in prejudgment interest, $50,278.68 in liquidated damages and post judgment interest and $80,986.00 in attorney’s fees and costs for a total award of $246,464.85.  Csardas, Inc. and its CEO Julius Jancso were both found liable for all awards.

The Division of Labor Standards Enforcement adjudicates wage claims, investigates discrimination and public works complaints, and enforces state labor law and Industrial Welfare Commission wage orders. To learn more about the functions of the California Labor Commissioner, visit our web site at www.dir.ca.gov/dlse.

Employees with work-related questions or complaints can call the California Workers’ Information Hotline at 1-866-924-9757.

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