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Chinese restaurants under investigation over wages in Illinois

Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced a joint investigation by her office and the Illinois Department of Labor into wage violations and discriminatory practices against immigrant workers employed at Chinese buffet-style restaurants throughout Illinois.

They are investigating allegations of wage payment and minimum wage violations and discrimination against a largely immigrant workforce serving as kitchen labor for many Chinese buffet-style restaurants throughout Illinois. Workers who have complained to Madigan’s office alleged they typically work 11-13 hours per day, without breaks, six days a week, and are housed by restaurant owners in crowded, substandard conditions.

The departments jointly issued subpoenas regarding workers’ claims that they are routinely being underpaid, discriminated against based on their race or national origin, and in some cases forced to work under threats of abuse and violence.

In announcing the investigation, Madigan urged any current and former workers of a Chinese buffet-style restaurant in Illinois to immediately contact her office to report wage abuse or discrimination in the workplace. Workers should contact Madigan’s Civil Rights Bureau at 1 (877) 581-3692.

“We take claims of wage violations and discrimination very seriously,” Madigan said. “My office is actively investigating the complaints we have received, and I’m encouraging anyone else who has endured such abuse to come forward so we can work to put a stop to these substandard labor practices.”

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