Happy Lamb Hot Pot Plans Expansion Into Allston, Despite Allegations of Labor Violations
You’d be hard pressed to find a more unlikely choice for a corporate conglomerate North America than a hot pot chain, especially one owned and operated by the same entity responsible for Pizza Hut and KFC. But that’s precisely what Little Sheep Group is - they’re a subsidiary of Yum! Brands overseas division, and the parent affiliation of Happy Lamb Hot Pot, currently planning an expansion into Allston after two successful locations in Chinatown and Central Square.
They’re also facing an $800,000 lawsuit from 14 employees alleging labor violations, including wage theft, harassment, retaliation and exposure to unsafe working conditions. The suit, initiated in October of last year, lists Hot Pot Boston 1 LLC, Happy Lamb Hot Pot, IPot Boston LLC, Michael Puileung Luk, Kong Wai “William” Cheung, Bin “Eason” Zhang, and Jinling “Elaine” Huang as defendants.
Among the more severe allegations includes a report of physical violence against former Happy Lamp employee Tiangle Zhang. “...on or about August 3, 2018, Plaintiff Tianle Zhang was washing his hands in the kitchen while Defendant Eason Zhang’s father was mopping the kitchen floor. Zhang accidentally splashed some water on the floor, and Eason’s father began yelling at him in a Chinese dialect that Tianle did not understand. Suddenly, Eason’s father grabbed a kitchen knife and pointed it at Tianle’s stomach from a distance. Despite others’ attempts to hold back Eason’s father, he headed toward Tianle and slapped him on the face while holding the knife,” Eater reported earlier in April.
While Happy Lamb has formally denied the accusations, they have petitioned the city for the transference of a beer, wine and spirits license from its former occupants, Sunset Grill & Tap, to the proposed location at 130 Brighton Avenue in Allston. Sunset Grill & Tap closed in 2017.
The parent applicant of Happy Lamb Hot Pot is currently registered as a Delaware LLC, operating as HLHP Boston.