KCRW investigates LA restaurant worker abuse

kcrw-investigates-grafic.jpgKCRW on Monday unveils a new reporting project, KCRW Investigates, with its first target a five-part look at abuse of workers in the Los Angeles restaurant industry. The pieces begin running this morning during the local block of NPR's "Morning Edition." The series is reported by Karen Foshay, the former "SoCal Connected" investigative reporter for KCET who more recently was a senior producer with Al Jazeera America. Foshay worked briefly across town at KPCC and I think this is her first work for KCRW.

From the flackage:

Many back-of-house restaurant workers are low-skilled, lack education, are undocumented and vulnerable to abuse. KCRW’s investigative reporter, Karen Foshay spoke with dozens of restaurant workers, labor lawyers, government enforcers, and sifted through thousands of public records concerning Los Angeles-area restaurants.

Wage Theft – Wage theft comes in several forms: stolen tips, no overtime pay, working off the clock or not getting meal and rest breaks, and workers have very little recourse. (Airing August 1)

Injuries on the Job – Without insurance, injured workers are often ignored, responsible for their own injuries, or coached to disguise their injuries. (Airing August 2)

You’re Fired: Retaliation – Complaints are met with silence, retaliation, or worse. (Airing August 3)

Getting Away with It – The system set up to protect restaurant workers from abuse is so overwhelmed, employers can operate outside the law for years with few consequences. (Airing August 4)

Trafficking – We hear the story of a 13-year old who, beginning at the age of nine, spent two years as a slave in a family-owned restaurant until a customer became suspicious. (Airing August 5)

The series “Burned: Abuse in LA’s Restaurant Industry” is funded by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, as part of a multi-year reporting project to tell stories of Los Angeles’ most vulnerable communities. KCRW previously aired “Below the Ten: Stories of South LA.”

Here's a trailer:

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