Walk into any restaurant in Los Angeles and you’ll likely read menus boasting of free-range meat, free-trade coffee and cruelty free poultry, allowing patrons to eat with a conscience. Some restaurants proudly show off their A grades from the health department as evidence of a clean kitchen. But nowhere do these establishments show their record of fairness to employees. Thus, there’s no easy way to track the bad actors accused of stealing paychecks, hiding injuries or abusing employees. The victims of abuse often don’t have the resources to fight back – when they do, some sink deeper into poverty, even homelessness.
KCRW’s investigative reporter, Karen Foshay spoke with dozens of restaurant workers, labor lawyers, and government enforcers, and sifted through thousands of public records concerning Los Angeles-area restaurants.
“Burned: Abuse in LA’s Restaurant Industry” presents Foshay’s findings in 5-parts covering wage theft, injured workers, retaliation, and trafficking.
The series premieres August 1, on Morning Edition (8:50am) and repeats on All Things Considered (5:50pm) and can be found at kcrw.com/investigates.