Urasawa Accused of Labor Abuses and Withholding Employee Wages

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Urasawa Photo: Takaokun/Flickr

Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance (KIWA) sent out a press release this week detailing alleged labor abuses and wage theft at Urasawa, Hiroyuki Urasawa's high-end sushi experience in Beverly Hills that is often cited as L.A.'s most expensive restaurant. According to the announcement, Urasawa was been cited by California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for failing to pay overtime wages, provide staff with breaks for meals and rest, and withholding wage statements. The restaurant is specifically accused of firing Heriberto Zamora, who has worked at Urasawa since the age of seventeen, when the employee requested leave nine hours in a shift while "preparing food with a severe flu." According to statement from Zamora, "I was expected to handle the raw fish while I was sick and coughing."

Not only was he fired, but the report alleges that his final paycheck was withheld, leading to a claim with the State of California's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement that stretched into an investigation into the restaurant.

Today a protest is going down outside of Urasawa, with demonstrators demanding restitution in the form of back wages for the fired employee. The labor advocacy group has assessed over $65,000 in damages it intends to make Urasawa pay in both back wages and penalties.

KIWA, meanwhile, is circulating an online petition to get Zamora his money.