Burger King franchise owner ordered to pay $2.2 million to 230 workers for unpaid overtime, report says

Burger King franchise owner ordered to pay $2.2 million to 230 workers for unpaid overtime, report says
The six outlets were run by the Golden Gate Restaurant Group.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
  • A Burger King franchise owner was ordered to $2.2 million to workers, per the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • The sum included $724,000 in unpaid wages, $1.2 million in penalties, and $371,000 in interest.

A former Burger King franchise owner has been ordered to pay $2.2 million to 230 employees who said they worked unpaid overtime, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The employees said they often worked through breaks or were denied breaks at the six Burger King restaurants in San Francisco between 2016 and 2019. The owner tried to save on labor costs by keeping the restaurants understaffed, the workers told the Chronicle.

Some staff said they had to take on additional duties as a result. Daniel Marini, a former manager, claimed to have suffered a back injury due to overworking, according to the report.

The California Labor Commissioner's Office ordered the Golden Gate Restaurant Group, which has since sold or closed the six Burger King outlets, to pay $724,000 in unpaid wages, $371,000 in interest, and $1.2 million in penalties, per the Chronicle. That amounted to just over $9,500 per worker.

An investigation was opened into Golden Gate's Burger King franchises in 2019 and a decision reached the following year that was appealed. A hearing was then held last spring, where the workers and Gold Gate owners testified.

According to the Chronicle, the investigation uncovered records such as time card reports that supported the workers' claims and that Golden Gate "falsified" forms to indicate that the workers had taken breaks when they did not.

Golden Gate's owners, Monu Singh and Harkiran Randhawa, are personally being held accountable for the payments, per the report. Their lawyer, Colin Calvert, told the newspaper the restaurants "were not intentionally understaffed" or that staff were denied breaks.

The owners plan to appeal the ruling again. Calvert added that the Labor Commissioner's investigation was "poorly executed" with "glaring errors," per the Chronicle.

A group of workers at a Burger King restaurant in Nebraska resigned in July 2021 over working conditions. One former employee said at the time that they worked in the restaurant when the air conditioning was broken for weeks and that it was understaffed. Another worker had its store sign temporarily display a message that read: "We all quit. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Burger King told Insider that its franchisee was "looking into this situation" and the incidents that were alleged to have taken place at the restaurant were "not in line with our brand values."

Calvert and Burger King did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider.