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Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles Sued by Former Employee For Unpaid Overtime and Other Labor Violations

Jaime Alejandro Carbajal-Torres alleges that for at least the last four years, Roscoe’s engaged in a slew of illegal labor practices, ranging from unpaid overtime to not providing uninterrupted meal breaks to not reimbursing employees for work-related costs.

1:24 PM PST on January 8, 2024

A former 20+ year employee of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles is suing the company for unpaid overtime and other labor violations, according to a civil complaint filed in L.A. Superior Court that was obtained by L.A. TACO.

Jaime Alejandro Carbajal-Torres alleges that for at least the last four years, Roscoe’s engaged in a slew of illegal labor practices, ranging from unpaid overtime to not providing uninterrupted meal breaks to not reimbursing employees for work-related costs.

The complaint says that Carbajal-Torres worked for Roscoe’s from roughly late 2001 until March of last year. His duties included “cleaning, preparing and serving beverages and transferring meals to servers.”

The lawsuit seeks class-action status and asks for unspecified damages for “all wages earned and owed, including minimum and overtime wages.” It also seeks unpaid wages for vacation time, as well as damages for unpaid meals and rest periods.

Carbajal-Torres is also seeking an injunction barring Roscoe’s “from further violating the California Labor Code,” in addition to attorney fees.

David Bibiyan, Jeffry Kelin, and Talia Edri of Bibiyan Law Group are representing Carbajal-Torres. The Beverly Hills-based law firm has collectively secured multi-million dollar class action settlements for their clients in the tens of millions of dollars range, according to their website.

A Roscoe's representative did not immediately reply to a request for comment on the suit brought Friday.

Harlem native Herb Hudson opened his first location of Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles in Long Beach, California in 1975. Today, the L.A. institution has seven locations across Southern California—including six restaurants in L.A. County and one in Anaheim.

In recent years, Roscoe’s has faced legal troubles that nearly put them out of business.

In 2015, a Southern California jury awarded a former Black employee of Roscoe’s more than $1 million, after they sued the soul food restaurant for racial discrimination. A year later, the company filed for bankruptcy.

Eventually, in 2018, East Coast Foods Inc., the parent company that owned several Roscoe’s at the time, emerged from bankruptcy after coming to an agreement with their creditors.

Roscoe’s is the latest L.A.-based restaurant to be accused of shady labor practices.

Earlier this month, L.A. TACO reported that the U.S. Department of Labor filed a lawsuit against Pasadena-based Entre Nous French Bistro for allegedly withholding a portion of tips intended for their staff and misclassifying employees as independent contractors.

View the full complaint against Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles here

If you’ve been employed by a company engaging in illegal labor practices, feel free to reach out to us via tips@LATACO.com

City News Service contributed to this report.

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