When it comes to wage theft, a company’s popularity isn’t a measure of how well it treats its employees.
Just ask Lowell’s Restaurant, a reputable attraction in Seattle’s Pike Place Market for more than 60 years. The eatery recently settled a lawsuit involving 186 current and former workers on allegations of withholding wages and meal and rest breaks.
On Feb. 6, the Seattle Office of Labor Standards (SOLS) announced the $483,000 settlement, brought under the Wage Theft and Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinance.
“Lowell’s Restaurant failed to provide meal breaks to some workers, failed to provide rest breaks to most workers, and failed to consistently provide PSST,” SOLS wrote in a tweet.
Enacted in 2012, Seattle’s PSST ordinance requires employers to “provide all employees with paid leave to care for themselves or a family member with a physical or mental health condition, medical appointment, or a critical safety issue.”
About $482,000 of the settlement went to the workers, while the remaining $1,000 was awarded to the city, according to the Associated Press.
Prominent Seattle restaurateur Tom Douglas agreed to pay $2.4 million to more than 1,000 current and former workers who sued his restaurant chain in a class-action lawsuit for not disclosing where a 20 percent service charge to customers was going and not providing adequate rest and meal breaks for workers.
That outcome of that case, together with the Lowell’s settlement, is a reminder that workers can hold even the most high-profile employers accountable for wage theft.
Emery Reddy helps workers. Call us at if you have a wage violation, workers’ comp, injury, or other employment law claim. You won’t get better advice.