Phoenix, Arizona (CNN) Chinese restaurants in Phoenix, Phoenix, and other cities have been forced to close due to health and safety concerns, a new lawsuit alleges.
The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Arizona claims the restaurants are illegally serving Chinese food and are in violation of federal regulations.
The restaurants also have been serving foreign travelers.
The lawsuit claims the owners of the restaurant, Phoenix Chinese Restaurant and Food Co., are being sued for “violating their fiduciary duty” to their employees.
“They are in a position to enforce these regulations because they are under a fiduciaries obligation,” said U.N. rights expert and former Chinese diplomat Zhou Yong, who is representing the plaintiffs.
“They have an obligation to keep the health and welfare of their employees and customers safe.”
Zhou and his co-plaintiffs, former U.K. diplomat David Yacov, and former U (now U.A.) ambassador to China, Simon Yeung, claim the restaurants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, which protects workers from wage theft.
The workers allege they were fired in the past and are owed money.
The complaint also accuses Phoenix Chinese restaurant owner, Peter Liang, of illegally hiring foreign workers to operate the restaurants.
“The owners of Phoenix Chinese Restaurants are not legally permitted to employ foreign workers, and are violating federal and state regulations,” the lawsuit states.
The restaurants were shuttered on March 4 after inspectors found an unsafe work environment, a lack of food, and poor customer service, the lawsuit claims.
A spokesperson for Phoenix Chinese, the restaurant’s owners, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Chinese restaurant chain has also been the subject of a separate class-action lawsuit filed in a California federal court last year.
The suit alleges the restaurant failed to provide safe working conditions to its foreign employees and did not take action to stop foreign workers from entering the country illegally.
The plaintiffs allege the restaurants failed to hire or pay workers in accordance with federal and local laws.