Below is an excerpt of a recent AALDEF press release:
A Nepali immigrant worker who was subjected to abuse, fraud, and egregious labor violations at the hands of his former employer, Long Island Indian fusion restaurant Masala Wok & Grill, announced the filing of his complaint against the restaurant and its owners, Shivaji Pathak and “Tony Malik” in New York Supreme Court. The worker, Rabin Kumar Biswokarma, is represented by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and is a member of Adhikaar, a Woodside-based human rights group. Download the complaint [pdf] which alleges violations of both New York state and federal laws, including unpaid wages, minimum wage, overtime, and spread of hours, against Pathak, Malik, and Tonimil Inc., the corporate name of Masala Wok & Grill; and fraud based upon the false representations that Pathak and Malik made while hiring and continuing to employ Biswokarma.
Biswokarma, who now lives in New York City, was hired as a kitchen assistant at Masala Wok & Grill in July of 2011. He was required to live in isolated group housing with his co-workers, which included a basement space with extremely poor conditions that endangered his health. He chopped meat and vegetables, cooked, and cleaned for a minimum of 10 to 12 hours a day often without breaks, once for 21 days straight. Pathak and Malik even denied him leave to seek medical attention after he injured his hand with a kitchen knife.
Though Biswokarma had been promised a salary of at least $500 a week, Pathak and Malik gradually lowered his pay week by week, paying him as little as $100 a week and eventually paid him nothing at all. Because Masala Wok & Grill is located in Selden, a Suffolk County town located hours from New York City, Pathak and Malik essentially forced Biswokarma to choose between homelessness or working indefinitely for little or no pay.
Workers interested in learning their legal rights should contact Adhikaar at 718.937.1117 or AALDEF at the AALDEF helpline at 888.406.1555.
For further information, contact:
- Ujala Sehgal, AALDEF, 646.207.1497, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Luna Ranjit, Adhikaar, 718.937.1117, email@example.com
- Major Legal Victory for NY Chinatown Workers (lawprofessors.typepad.com)