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Restaurant fines staff for swearing, yawning, stretching at work

What can get you in trouble if you work at this restaurant?

At Michelin-starred restaurant Lei Garden, you can get fined for yawning, stretching, telling the customer the wrong price of an item on the menu, and a whole host of other actions, Eater reports.

The fines range from $20HK (US $2.58) to $100HK (US 12.90) and employees can be fired immediately, depending upon the infraction.

Staff can also be fined for such things as using toothpicks or cutting their fingernails, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP).

The stiff penalty system being used at the restaurant’s Sha Tin branch was revealed when someone posted a photo of the 23-item list on Facebook in a group set up by restaurant workers to share industry information and job advertisements.

If chefs cook larger portions than the menu states, the restaurant loses out, so they are fined HK$100.

Supervisors may also be dinged for fines larger than those levied on wait staff. If, for instance, if a supervisor gives a customer the wrong price for a menu item, they face a fine of HK$50, while wait staff is fined HK$20 for the infraction.

An employee is also given a “demerit” on their record and fined HK$100 if their managers receive a complaint about something the employee did.

The heaviest punishment — being fired immediately — is reserved for any staff member who takes home unclaimed lost property from the restaurant, SCMP reports.

The Labour Department is investigating the issue and has said that deducting wages from employees on the grounds that mistakes have been made in their work is a breach of the Employment Ordinance. The department plans on contacting the restaurant and urging the employer to comply with the law.

Under the Employment Ordinance, employers who make illegal deductions from employees’ wages are liable for prosecution and can be fined up to HK$100,000 (US $12897.68) and face one year in jail if convicted.

Internet followers who work in the industry say the penalty list is unreasonable and harsh and have criticized Lei Garden for treating staff like slaves, ejinsight reports.

The Confederation of Trade Unions has also condemned the restaurant for violating employment laws.

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