Owner Accused of Mistreating Workers
April 12, 2004
Four Hispanic employees of a Korean owned spa have filed a lawsuit
against the owner, Ms. Lee, demanding $34,000 in compensation.
employees of Osaka Zen Spa in mid Manhattan sued the owner for
various abuses and not paying wages. They accused the owner
of insulting them, stealing tips, and forcing them to work 100
hours a week for only $250. They also maintained that they had
to sleep on the massage tables and suffered from malnutrition due
to the inadequacy of the room and board the owner promised. They
said that the owner forced them to clean the entire building, throw
out garbage, and even make kimchi, as well as do massages.
and her two daughters denied the charges, saying, "There
was no abuse of worker's rights because their employees voluntarily
agreed to the working condition and training process. We don't
need to listen to these people with complaints about everything."
to AsianWeek and U.S. News & World Report, the Lee
family immigrated to the United States in 1970s and has made a
fortune in the profitable spa business.
In Octover, 2000, Time
Out magazine published a report praising the spa. In 1995, New
York Magazine said the spa offered the best
massage in New York City.
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Translated from Korean by Bonhee Chung