New Haven Restaurants Investigated for Workplace Violations

By Ari Mason
|  Wednesday, Aug 7, 2013  |  Updated 5:23 PM EDT
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New Haven Restaurants Investigated for Violations

Gourmet Heaven‎ on Broadway is one of two New Haven restaurants being investigated for workplace violations.

Two New Haven restaurants are under scrutiny after the State Dept. of Labor received reports of numerous workplace violations.

The State Dept. of Labor issued Stop Work orders at two Gourmet Heaven restaurants, run by Chang Cho of Woodbridge.

The restaurants are located at 15 Broadway and 44 Whitney Avenue in New Haven, were shut down Wednesday afternoon around lunchtime.

Investigators found that 15 first-shift workers have been treated as independent contractors rather than full-time employees.

Some even admitted to working overtime without proper compensation. Many were reportedly paid in cash and earned less than minimum wage, according to the Dept. of Labor.

“This is a case where an employer is taking unfair advantage of his employees and also cheating the state by not paying the proper taxes or providing worker protections, such as unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation,” said State Labor Commissioner Sharon M. Palmer, in a release.

Payroll records and time sheets were also discovered missing.

Investigators determined that the violations have been occurring over the past two-to-four years.

“Almost every violation that was possible for us to find, we found, and this is unfortunate for the workers who were not paid fairly for the hours that they worked,” said Gary Pechie, director of the Wage and Workplace Standards Division, said in a release.

The restaurants were closed around lunchtime Wednesday, but according to the State Dept. of Labor, both locations were granted conditional release and are continuing to operate this afternoon.

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