Threats and intimidation are common for low-wage workers seeking justice from abusive or unlawful restaurant owners. Rafael Rosales was one of the brazen few who sued for back pay from his former boss, the owner of a popular middle-eastern restaurant frequented by local celebrities. Rosales was subsequently harassed by apparent gang members urging him to settle the suit, or else. "It was an act of retaliation, a direct threat of violence by the owner because our client had decided to file a lawsuit," says Rosales' lawyer, Sebastian Sanchez. In part three of Burned: Abuse in LA's Restaurant Industry, reporter Karen Foshay looks at how the fear of retaliation keeps some workers from seeking justice.
Find more features at KCRW.com/investigates.
Audio production for this series by Myke Dodge Weiskopf.
The series is supported by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.
Photo: Attorney with Bet Tzedek Sebastian Sanchez has taken many retaliation cases. (Karen Foshay)