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Neo-China settles with immigrant worker

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Neo-China has settled out of court with a former employee who says the Cary restaurant forced him and his family to work as many as 90 hours a week for less than minimum wage. The settlement was announced shortly after the Independent wrote about the accusations. (See "Neo-China accused of 'human trafficking'.")

The lawsuit accused Neo-China's owner and a manager of forcing Amu Zheng, his wife and son to work long hours at the restaurant in return for sponsoring their immigration from China to the United States. According to the suit, after Zheng was injured on the job—in 2005, he fell off the roof of the restaurant while fixing an air conditioner and tore a rotator in his shoulder, then injured his other shoulder less than a year later—Neo-China manager Chris Chang fired the entire Zheng family.

Zheng's lawyer, Anthony Taibi, said last month that the core issue of the lawsuit is his client's permanent injuries. "They need to pay the guy," Taibi said.

Now they have. The settlement is confidential, a common practice in business disputes. Taibi said he tried for more than a year to settle the dispute without filing a lawsuit because "it's hard to find good Chinese food" in the Triangle.

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