WaiterPay – New York Labor and Employment Lawyers

New Jersey Five Guys Restaurants Hit With Wage Lawsuit

Five Guys

New Jersey Five Guys locations have been sued by former employees for overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New Jersey State Wage and Hour Law (“NJWHL”). The lawsuit alleges that workers were only being compensated for forty hours per week, without being compensated for the hours worked off the clock over forty in a workweek in violation of the FLSA and NJWHL.

The workers performed non-exempt restaurant labor duties for Five Guys, such as, serving customers, working the cash register, cleaning the grills, bussing tables, and all of the other duties necessary to run a restaurant. Thus, the workers were entitled to receive overtime compensation for all hours worked above forty in a workweek. The lawsuit also allege workers were required to work approximately one hour off the clock each day, for which they were not compensated at all.

Attorneys for the workers are seeking compensation for all hours due to them, overtime hours due to them for the hours worked for which they have not been properly compensated, liquidated damages, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.



California Buffet Restaurant To Pay $128k To Resolve Allegations Of Minimum Wage and Overtime Violations


A minimum wage and overtime lawsuit against Hibachi City Buffet was settled for $128,335. The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California approved a judgment ordering the Palm City, California restaurant and owners to pay 44 employees $90,000 in back wages, in addition to $38,335 in penalties. The court also prohibited Hibachi City Buffet from retaliating or taking any adverse employment action against any worker who exercises or asserts their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

Investigators from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that Hibachi City Buffet violated the minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the FLSA. They found the employees – cooks, dishwashers and servers – worked more than 60 hours per workweek on average, yet the employer paid a fixed salary, without regard to the number of hours employees worked. Minimum wage violations resulted when those salaries failed to cover all the hours employees worked at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Overtime violations occurred when workers exceeded 40 hours in a week, yet the employer still paid workers only their fixed salaries. Hibachi City Buffet also failed to keep time records showing how many hours employee worked, or how much they paid employees, as the law requires.

“Vulnerable restaurant employees are often reluctant to complain when their employer fails to pay them the wages they’ve earned,” said Danny Pasquil, district director for the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division in West Covina. “We urge all employees who are not paid legally to step forward. Cheating workers out of their hard-earned wages is illegal. As this consent judgment illustrates, we will continue to use every available tool, including asking the courts to step in, to ensure that workers receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”

Pret A Manger Restaurant To Pay $910,000 To Settle Wage Claims

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Pret A Manger restaurants will pay a total of $910,000 to settle a class action wage lawsuit filed in New York federal court for unpaid wages and tips.

Pret workers sued Pret in August 2012, alleging that Pret failed to pay them overtime pay for hours worked over forty hours per week and for so-called “gap time,” time spent working or preparing for work just before or after the scheduled start of their work day, including times when Pret workers were changing into their uniforms. The lawsuit also included claims for illegal tip-pooling and failure to provide adequate wage statements.

The settlement will be distributed to over four thousand employees who worked at 35 Pret stores in New York City at any time between August 9, 2006 and March 28, 2014. The settlement agreement in the case was approved by Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, a New York federal judge, on September 19.

Astoria Restaurant Ordered to Pay Waitresses for Wage Violations

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Las Margaritas, a Mexican restaurant in Astoria, was ordered to pay two former waitresses $41,618.08 for multiple wage violations under the Fair Labor Standard Act and New York Labor Law following a four-day trial and a jury verdict in favor of the waitresses. Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak upheld the jury’s verdict which found that the restaurant failed to pay waitresses minimum wage, overtime, and improperly applied a tip credit towards their wages. Las Margaritas also violated New York Labor Law by failing to pay the waitresses a uniform allowance of $9.00 per week as well as making deductions from the waitresses’ pay or making them pay out of pocket if the cash register was short.

The waitresses were represented by Vivianna Morales and Lou Pechman, founder of waiterpay.com.

The Real-Soprano’s “Bada Bing!” Strip Club Sued for Wage Law Violations


The New Jersey strip club used for Tony Soprano’s “Bada Bing!” club in the hit TV series “The Sopranos,” in addition to another club under the same owner, was hit with a class action lawsuit by its former employees. It is alleged that Satin Dolls and The Harem were illegally retaining private dancers’ tips and failing to pay them minimum wage by deducting “house fees” from their wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and New Jersey Wage Laws (“NJWL”).

The entertainers allege in their lawsuit that Satin Dolls and The Harem required customers to tip dancers during private or VIP dances. However, the dancers did not retain the entirety of their tips. For example, if a customer tipped $300 for a private dance, the strip club would retain approximately $150, even though customers believed that the dancers were keeping 100% of the tips. In addition, entertainers were required to share their tips with managers, including the “house mom”, the DJ, and security personnel through mandatory tipouts at the end of each shift.

The entertainer’s rights were also violated under the FLSA and NJWL due to the clubs’ policy requiring dancers to pay “fines,” “fees,” and “miscellaneous improper surcharges,” bringing their pay not only below the minimum wage, but to a negative wage. “House fees” collected prior to each shift would amount from $30-$80 depending on the night. Attorneys for the entertainers are seeking to recover unpaid wages, illegally retained tips, illegal deductions from wages, and other penalties from the respective clubs.

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Miller’s Ale House for Wage Theft

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Miller’s Ale House locations in Suffolk, Nassau, Queens, and Staten Island, have been sued by former servers in a class action lawsuit for unpaid minimum wages and unpaid spread-of-hours pay. The wage theft lawsuit also claims that Miller’s Ale House improperly applied a tip credit, where servers were required to perform regular non-tipped work for more than twenty percent of their workday in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”).

According to the lawsuit, the waiters and waitresses were required to complete non-tipped “side work” at the beginning of their shift. This “side work” took at least one and a half hours to complete. The non-tipped “side work” included, but was not limited to, making dressings, cleaning and setting tables, dusting ceiling fans, preparing food, preparing and cleaning soda machines. Even though servers’ responsibilities included non-tipped work at the beginning and end of their shifts for more than an hour and a half, Miller’s still claimed a tip credit. Therefore, the servers were being paid at hourly rates below the standard minimum wage at $5.00 per hour. Under the NYLL, the servers were also owed “spread-of-hours” pay for worked shifts that spread over ten or more hours in a single day.

The attorneys for the restaurant workers are seeking to recover unpaid minimum wages owed to the waiters and waitresses for improperly claiming a tip credit towards their obligation to pay the statutory minimum wage rate under the FLSA and NYLL, as well as, unpaid spread-of- hours pay under the NYLL.




Connecticut Restaurant Sued in Class Action Lawsuit for Wage Theft

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Servers and bartenders have united in a class action lawsuit against Shea’s American Bar and Grill for minimum wage violations and improper deductions under the Fair Labor Standard Act (“FLSA”) and the Connecticut Minimum Wage Act (“CMWA”). According to the worker’s lawsuit, servers and bartenders were required to perform non-tipped work at the beginning or end of their shifts, and even during their shifts. The lawsuit alleges the Restaurant did not keep a record of what time was spent performing non-tipped work in violation of the CMWA.

In addition, the lawsuit claims that Managers would clock out workers from the time keeping system, even though they were still working. It is alleged that the restaurant shaved workers’ hours worked by changing clock-in and/or clock-out times in the timekeeping system. Therefore, the servers and bartenders worked off the clock without pay and were not given overtime compensation for hours they worked past forty in a week.

The lawsuit further alleges that the restaurant took improper deductions from employee paychecks. The restaurant deducted a cost between $15-$20 for uniforms workers were required to wear which carried the restaurant logo. Penalties of at least $20 were also deducted from paychecks if the managers were not “satisfied” with a cleaning job by an employee. The restaurant even deducted customer bills from a server’s or bartender’s pay for those customers that “walked out”. Workers’ rights were violated as these deductions brought the workers’ wages below the minimum wage under the FLSA. This lawsuit seeks unpaid wages, liquidated damages, interest, and attorneys’ fees.

Assistant Managers Sue Ruby Tuesday for Overtime Wages

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Former assistant managers at Ruby Tuesday restaurants filed a lawsuit claiming that the restaurant chain purposefully misclassified Kitchen Managers, Culinary Managers, Guest Services Managers, Front-of-House Managers, and Back-of-the-House Managers as exempt employees to avoid paying them overtime required by the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA).

Although the assistant managers primarily performed tasks similar to those performed by non-exempt employees, such as preparing food, serving customers, and cleaning the restaurant, Ruby Tuesday classified them as “executives” to exempt them from overtime requirements under federal and state laws.

In the lawsuit filed by the restaurant workers’ attorneys in Connecticut federal court, it is claimed that Ruby Tuesday did not pay their assistant managers premium overtime compensation when they worked beyond forty hours in a workweek. Assistant managers were consistently required to work more than forty hours per week and were earning as little as $37,500 per year. The two assistant managers that brought the lawsuit claim that they worked between fifty-five and sixty-two hours per week.

Lawyers for the workers also claim that their rights were violated because Ruby Tuesday was not keeping accurate time records for employee work hours. The assistant managers were not required to clock in or out, or otherwise record their time; neither was their work hours recorded on paystubs.

Joe’s Crab Shack Eliminates Its “No Tipping” Policy

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Joe’s Crab Shack announced that it would restore tipping at most of their no tipping locations less than a year after adopting the highly criticized “no tipping policy” at their restaurant chain. Created with the intention of moving away from an antiquated gratuity model, Joe’s Crab Shack became the first national chain to eliminate tipping from their restaurants when they applied the “no tipping policy” to 18 of their restaurants.

The restaurant’s research showed that about 60% of customers disliked the policy because it took away incentive for good service and that they didn’t necessarily trust that management is passing along the money to workers. The feedback from the customers of Joe’s Crab Shack is consistent with the results of a survey held by WaiterPay.com which revealed that a majority of servers were against no tipping policies. The WaiterPay survey revealed that waiters and waitresses believed that “no tipping” policies would negatively affect the pay they earned and decrease they quality of customer service.


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