June 14, 2024 The Newspaper Serving LGBT Los Angeles

Sweet Lady Jane Faces Legal Battle Over Alleged Wage Theft Amid Closure Announcement

Beloved LA Bakery Hit With Class-Action Lawsuit for Mismanagement and Wage Abuses

By Keemia Zhang

Sweet Lady Jane, famous for their elaborately decorated cakes and baked goods, shocked the community when they announced their closure at the beginning of the year after thirty years of operation – citing a sales downturn that left them unable to “pay [their] treasured employees a living wage” without raising retail prices. 

However, earlier this week, news broke that the bakery has been the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court for almost seven months, alleging that the company engaged in mismanagement and wage theft, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

Blanca Juarez, who spent two months in 2022 working for Sweet Lady Jane, accused the corporation of not compensating her for working hours, overtime, and missed breaks for rest and meals.

The lawsuit also accuses Sweet Lady Jane of engaging in a “pattern and practice of wage abuse” through inaccurate payroll records and failing to reimburse employees for business-related expenses. The company denied all allegations, calling them “unverified” in court filings. 

Prior to closure, Sweet Lady Jane built a loyal customer base across locations in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Encino, Calabasas, and San Fernando. The closure also canceled plans to open new shops in Larchmont and Marina del Rey. 

The bakery chain reportedly offered select former employees severance packages – with an agreement to not participate in class action or individual lawsuits seeking further compensation. Sweet Lady Jane is slated to declare for a state alternative to filing bankruptcy, permitting creditors and former employees to “recover what they are owed.” 

In their website’s closing statement, Sweet Lady Jane – which branded itself as ‘L.A’s Most Popular Bakery’ –  stated that: “For more than three decades, we didn’t just build a loyal customer base, we created a real community. It has been a privilege to be included in your sweetest moments. Big and small. LA’s most beloved Triple Berry Cake will live on in your memories and in ours.”

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