Workers' Rights

CDP supports grassroots worker centers and other organizing groups and their members. Our workers’ rights team uses litigation, legislative advocacy, and community education to combat violations such as unpaid minimum wages and overtime, tip theft, discrimination, sexual harassment, and retaliation against workers who assert their rights under the labor laws. Plaintiffs in these cases include workers in private homes, restaurants, nail salons, garment factories, food processing, and construction.

We Support a Variety of Worker Groups

We support Adhikaar, African Communities Together, Chinese Staff and Workers’ Association (CSWA), Damayan Migrant Workers' Association, DRUM - South Asian Organizing Center, Flushing Workers Center, National Domestic Workers' Alliance, the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops (NMASS), New Immigrant Community Empowerment, Sapna NYC, Staten Island Community Job Center, Ugnayan, Workers' Justice Project, and other groups.

Over $22 Million in Judgments

Our advocacy has helped secure more than $22 million in judgments and settlements for our clients. Examples of our litigation in this area include:

Shanti Gurung v. Jogesh Malhotra and Neena Malhotra
CDP, with the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, obtained a judgment of more than $1.4 million on behalf of Shanti Gurung, a domestic worker and member of Adhikaar, who sued her former employers Jogesh and Neena Malhotra for trafficking, forced labor, minimum wage, and overtime violations.
Read the Judgment

Ricardo Copantitla et al. v. Fiskardo Estiatorio Inc. (d/b/a Thalassa Restaurant) et al.
CDP won a summary judgment decision in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of 13 workers—members of ROC-NY—employed at an upscale Greek restaurant in Tribeca. The court held that the restaurant unlawfully retained the waitstaff’s tips when it charged tips to private dining and banquet customers and then failed to distribute significant portions of those tips to the waitstaff. The court also ruled that the restaurant failed to pay the lawfully required minimum wage and overtime rates. CDP co-counseled the case with the law firms of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Chadbourne & Parke LLP.
Read the Judgment

Julian Sanchez et al. v. Best Boat Seafood Restaurant, Inc. et al.
CDP and co-counsel Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP obtained an $848,000 judgment on behalf of five worker-members of NMASS who suffered minimum wage and overtime violations for many years at an Upper West Side Thai restaurant. When some of the individual defendants sought bankruptcy court protection to avoid paying the workers their unpaid wages, we filed a petition in the bankruptcy proceeding asserting that the debts owed to our clients are non-dischargeable. The defendants subsequently abandoned their bankruptcy petition.
Read the Bankruptcy Court Petition

Ji Shiang, Inc. and 318 Restaurant Workers Union
CDP won a judgment from the National Labor Relations Board on behalf of two workers, CSWA members, who were unlawfully retaliated against because of their attempt to organize co-workers and seek better working conditions.
Read the Judgment

Adriane Padilla v. Santiago Manlapaz, et al.
CDP, with the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, won summary judgment against a restaurant and its owners for close to $25,000 for illegally withholding wages from a restaurant worker for eight months, and for violating state minimum wage and overtime laws.
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Hui Lin, et al. v. Great Rose Fashion, Inc., et al.
CDP, with the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, represented six employees of a Long Island City garment factory who had organized with CSWA. The suit alleged that the workers often were required to work very long work weeks—sometimes more than 100 hours per week—while being paid below the minimum wage and not receiving any overtime pay. In addition, the workers alleged that they were retaliated against, and ultimately fired, when the employers found out about the lawsuit. The case was resolved through a settlement.
Read the Complaint

Samiento v. World Yacht, Inc.
CDP submitted an amicus brief to the New York Court of Appeals on behalf of the CSWA, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Urban Justice Center in this critical case concerning the rights of tipped workers to be protected from tip theft. The Court of Appeals agreed with our arguments, and held that the New York Labor Law prohibits employers from keeping any portion of service charges when the employer has led the customer believe that the charge is a gratuity for the service staff.
Read the opinion

Gui Ming Li et. al., v. 2875 Restaurant Inc. d/b/a Ollie’s Noodle Shop & Grille, et. al.
CDP, with the law firm of Shearman & Sterling LLP, filed suit on behalf of 43 restaurant worker-members of CSWA employed by a well-known chain of Manhattan Chinese restaurants. The suit alleged violations of federal and state minimum wage and overtime laws, and was resolved through a settlement.
Read the Complaint

Heng Chan, et al. v. Sung Yue Tung Corp. d/b/a 88 Palace, et al.
CDP, together with the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP, won a trial verdict against one of Chinatown’s largest restaurants. The court ruled that the restaurant had unlawfully retained the employees’ gratuities, and also had violated minimum wage and overtime laws. The court awarded almost $700,000 plus interest to eleven worker-members of CSWA.
Read the Judgment