Northwest Asian Weekly
The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle issued an arrest warrant on Oct. 5 against Zhao “Jenny” Zeng Hong, owner of the J&J Mongolian Grill restaurant in Bellingham, for failing to appear in court in a case involving a million-dollar labor lawsuit.
A U.S. Department of Labor release says Zhao and her husband Huang “Jackie” Jie were found guilty in 2015 of not paying minimum wage and overtime wages to employees and retaliating against workers during an investigation.
The jury found the defendants owed $1,305,719 in back wages and liquidated damages to 101 workers, as well as $31,800 in retaliation damages for four workers. The affected workers, most of whom spoke little to no English, put in more than 70 hours during a six- to seven-day workweek on average.
The court ordered the defendants to pay $2,500 per month towards the judgment based on their submission of records showing alleged earnings and expenses. On June 21, the court modified its order after defendant Jie filed for bankruptcy, reducing the monthly amount to be paid to $375. The order also required the defendants to file detailed reports on their earnings and expenses. When they failed to comply with the reporting requirement, the court ordered defendant Zhao to a Debtor’s Exam on Oct. 5 to explain the discrepancies in her filings. An arrest warrant was issued after she failed to appear.