SUNNYVALE (KPIX 5) — Hundreds of South Bay businesses are accused of skipping out on paying employees the cash they earned.
In Sunnyvale, the city is taking action to try to stop wage theft.
Hundreds of businesses in Santa Clara County have been cited for wage theft. The list is long and ranges from restaurants to construction companies to care homes.
While some have paid up, many others have not, according to workers’ rights attorney Ruth Silver Taube.
Taube, who is with Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition called wage theft “pervasive.”
“And businesses you wouldn’t even expect aren’t paying workers,” Taube said.
She says Crazy Buffet in Sunnyvale owed its workers nearly $2 million, but instead of cutting a check, they just shut down.
“The court system isn’t set up to force people to pay. It just issues the judgment,” Taube said.
Just recently, protestors set up outside an Arby’s in Sunnyvale. Among the issues: wage theft.
One woman who sued the fast food chain in 2015 claims she still has not been paid.
Taube said Milpitas Buffet still has not paid its more than $400,000 judgment.
“If an employer is going to cut corners and they’re not going to pay workers, who knows what they’re going to do with the food as well,” Taube said. “They may try to cut corners on food.”
The Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition first went to San Jose and successfully got a wage theft policy passed there.
On Tuesday night their efforts are on Milpitas, where they hope the city councilmembers pass a law that prevents a business owner who fails to pay a wage theft citation from getting a business license.
The coalition’s goal is to get every city in the South Bay on board.
“The reason we need the cities and counties to step up to the plate is that there is a culture of non-compliance,” Taube said.