The 14 current and former workers who sued Happy Lamb Hot Pot for various alleged labor violations have settled the lawsuit, according to a press release sent to Eater by an attorney representing the workers; the attorney was unable to specify, due to confidentiality obligations, whether it was an in-court or out-of-court settlement. The lawsuit was dismissed by the United States District Court of Massachusetts.
The lawsuit sought hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages for alleged labor violations — including wage theft, failure to pay overtime wages, pocketing and improperly distributing workers’ tips, physical violence, exposing employees to potentially hazardous cleaning chemicals, and refusing to let workers use accrued sick time — though the amount of the settlement has not been disclosed. A lawyer representing the workers told Eater via email that the workers were satisfied with the settlement.
“In this current climate, many workers have been hesitant to enforce their rights, but everyone has a right to be paid fairly under the law,” said Bethany Li, the attorney with Greater Boston Legal Services representing the workers, in the press release. “Our clients prioritized creating an environment that is safe and just for all workers. We are happy they are satisfied with the outcome of this case.”
Nine workers filed an initial complaint against the Central Square, Cambridge, location of Happy Lamb Hot Pot with the United States District Court of Massachusetts in October 2018. Five more workers came forward with allegations in April 2019. Attorneys added those allegations to the initial complaint and filed a supplemental complaint stating that the alleged abuses occurred at both the Cambridge and Chinatown, Boston, locations of Happy Lamb Hot Pot.
Happy Lamb Hot Pot officially denied the allegations with the US District Court of Massachusetts, stating, “Defendants deny each and every allegation of fact, conclusion of law, or other matter contained in the Complaint that has not been expressly admitted herein.” Repeated attempts by Eater to reach Happy Lamb Hot Pot management for comment were unsuccessful.
Happy Lamb Hot Pot plans to open a third Boston-area location, this time in the former Sunset Grill & Tap space on Brighton Avenue in Allston.
• Workers Are Suing Happy Lamb Hot Pot, Alleging Wage Theft and Other Violations [EBOS] • More Workers Are Suing Happy Lamb Hot Pot [EBOS]
• A Hot Pot Chain That Has Been Accused of Labor Violations Is Expanding to Allston [EBOS]