Jimmy, the homeless man who fed stray cats all over Northridge is back in Los Angeles. He was fired last Saturday after 41 days of continuous labor because the owner said Jimmy had frequent angry outbursts at him. Jimmy's story can be found on the LA Weekly site: http://www.laweekly.com/2009-07-30/news/jimmy-on-the-edge-of-town/1
Knowing better than to just believe the owner of Shaz's account of Jimmy's stay at his restaurant, I asked Jimmy for his side. It is far, far different from Mohammed's story. Mohammed had said he fired Jimmy because Jimmy kept exploding in anger at him including in front of customers. Jimmy said Mohammed was angry about his cat Meena and constantly wanted him to get rid of her.
Jimmy stated Mohammed had both a good side and a bad side. Good for the first 3 days, especially if you were a visitor. Bad if you were a long term employee.
Jimmy was given room and two meals a day. He stated he worked from 9 a.m. to about midnight, or 15 hours a day for 41 days in a row without any day off. He was given 1 hour off for lunch and two 15 minute breaks. Employees ate supper after all customers left at around 10:30 p.m. After about a half hour supper, employees cleaned up and closed around 11:30-12:00 p.m. That is a 13-1/2 hour day, seven days a week for almost 6 weeks with no days off!!
Jimmy's pay? $2.89 per hour!!! No overtime!! All paid as cash under the table.
The minimum wage in California is $8.00 per hour, and has been since 2008!
This is a buffet style restaurant like Soup Plantation. Few tips are left. In any event, under state law, an employer cannot deduct tips from wages. The following is from the state's industrial division website:
I work in a restaurant as a waitperson. Can my employer use my tips as a credit toward its obligation to pay me the minimum wage?
No. An employer may not use an employee's tips as a credit toward its obligation to pay the minimum wage.
Jimmy was not paid any overtime, despite state law that requires 1.5 pay for any time over 8 hours per day, and 2X for any time worked beyond 12 hours a day. That is, Jimmy should have been making $8 X 8 hours, or $64, + 4 X $12, or $48, plus 1.5 hours X $16 per day, or $136/day, instead of the $38 a day he was actually paid.
No wonder Jimmy got mad.
Jimmy will be living in a secret place in the Northridge area beginning on Wednesday, looking for a restaurant job.