WaiterPay – New York Labor and Employment Lawyers

Judge Orders Mario Sbarro To Release Trust Agreement In Burton & Doyle Wage And Hour Litigation


A Federal Judge issued a decision that requires Mario Sbarro to produce the contents of his Trust Agreement in connection with a wage and hour collective action filed by former waitstaff of Long Island’s Burton & Doyle Steakhouse. The lawsuit filed in 2014, alleges that Mario Sbarro, the former chairman of Sbarro, Inc., was an owner of the now closed steakhouse, and responsible for the alleged wage and hour violations, including failure to pay minimum wage, overtime pay, and misappropriated gratuities.

Mario Sbarro argued that he was not an owner of the steakhouse, but rather a Trust, set up in his name, owned and operated the restaurant, and that the Trust Agreement did not grant him any operational authority to manage the restaurant. Moreover, Mario Sbarro claimed that the Trust Agreement was protected by attorney-client privilege and refused to disclose it. However, the Court found that Sbarro had used the attorney-client privilege as both a sword and a shield, thereby waiving any privilege and ordered that it be turned over.

The waitstaff is represented by Louis Pechman and Vivianna Morales of Pechman Law Group PLLC.


Friendly’s To Pay $4.6M to Servers for Wage Violations


Friendly’s has reached a $4.6 million settlement for a wage theft lawsuit brought by servers at its Pennsylvania locations. The lawsuit alleged various violations of restaurant worker rights, including unpaid minimum wage, overtime wages, forced off-the-clock work and unpaid meal breaks.

The wage lawsuit claimed that Friendly’s required servers to continue working after the end of their shifts without compensating them. Attorneys for the workers claimed that Friendly’s paid its waiters and waitresses at the tipped minimum wage rate of $2.83 per hour despite the fact that they spent more than 20% of their time performing non-tipped work, including cleaning dish rooms, sweeping floors, stocking straws and napkins, and stocking the salad bar and soda machine. According to the lawsuit, Friendly’s should have been paying them at the non-tipped minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour while performing this work.

The lawsuit claimed that servers at Friendly’s performed between 5-10 hours of unpaid “off-the-clock” post-shift work each week. For the work performed after the required “swipe out” at the end of their scheduled shift, Friendly’s required that servers swipe the card of another “on-the-clock” manager or co-worker in order to authorize the transactions. Under this off the clock scheme, Friendly’s did not pay employees for any work performed after the scheduled shift ended and cheated the workers out of their overtime wages.

The settlement agreement covers approximately 10,000 servers and will pay out an average of about $332 to each class member.


Brother Jimmy’s Delivery Persons and Busboys Owed Unpaid Wages


Brother Jimmy’s, the popular BBQ restaurant, failed to pay its delivery persons and busboys minimum wage and overtime pay, according to a lawsuit filed in New York federal court. The workers claim that six New York City Brother Jimmy’s locations forced employees to work off the clock and deliver, pick up, and transfer supplies and ingredients to and from Brother Jimmy’s locations throughout NYC without paying them proper wages.

According to the Complaint, Brother Jimmy’s also allegedly implemented a policy of taking an improper meal deduction in violation of the New York Labor Law. The lawsuit claims that Brother Jimmy’s charges its employees for meal credits although employees are not regularly given meal breaks. The workers claim Brother Jimmy’s also failed to pay them proper overtime wages when they worked more than forty hours in a workweek. The lawsuit has been brought on behalf of all delivery persons, waiters, runners and bussers employed by Brother Jimmy’s from September 2010 to September 2016. It is further claimed that Brother Jimmy’s intentionally fails to keep records of the daily tips earned by its employees, resulting in money wrongfully being withheld from them.


Cosimo’s Italian Restaurant Sued For Overtime Violations


Restaurant workers are suing Cosimo’s Italian Restaurant in Westfield, New Jersey for unpaid overtime wages in New Jersey federal court. Cooks, dishwashers, food preparation workers, and other back of house workers  claim Cosimo’s illegally profited at the expense of their employees.  Workers claim Cosimo’s was underpaying them “hundreds of thousands of dollars in wages” throughout the course of their employment. The kitchen workers claimed employees all worked at least approximately 57 to 60 hours per week and often worked long shifts totaling approximately 10 to 12 hours a day.

Cosimo’s paid back of house workers a set salary regardless of the number of hours that they actually worked, and therefore did not pay overtime. Further, it’s claimed that while Cosimo’s knew the failure to pay overtime wages to its workers at time-and-a-half their regular hourly rate would result in financial harm, they intentionally falsified time and pay records in order to evade the law. Attorneys for the former employees have asked that the District of New Jersey Court allow them to notify other former workers about joining the suit.

Texas Roadhouse to Pay $1.4M to Settle Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit

texas roadhouse logo

A Texas Roadhouse restaurant in Columbus, Ohio will pay $1.4 million to settle a class sexual harassment suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). EEOC had charged the restaurant with victimizing a group of female employees as young as 17 years old by subjecting them to sexual harassment and then retaliating against them for complaining.

According to EEOC’s lawsuit, the manager of the restaurant in the Reynoldsburg section of Columbus, Eric Price, harassed women and teen girls working in server, hostess and other front-of-the-house positions. In the suit, EEOC identified 12 victims of his abuse who suffered unwelcome touching, humiliating remarks about their and other females’ bodies and sexuality, and pressure for sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits or as a condition of avoiding adverse employment action. EEOC charged that the harassment began in 2007, continued for over three and a half years until the manager was fired in May 2011, and was coupled with retaliation against employees who opposed the abuse.

Although the companies’ owners and individuals with high-level authority received multiple complaints about the manager’s abusive conduct throughout his employment, they failed to take prompt, effective action to put a stop to the abuse, EEOC said. Price was not fired until May 2011, when he was seen on a surveillance video touching a 17-year-old female employee in his office at the restaurant during work hours, the agency charged.

Harassment and discrimination based on sex violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII also forbids employers from firing or otherwise retaliating against an employee because she complained about discriminatory conduct. EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. East Columbus Host, LLC d/b/a Texas Roadhouse and Ultra Steak, Inc., Civil Action No. 2:14-cv-1696) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

On Sept. 2, U.S. District Court Judge James L. Graham issued an order denying East Columbus Host and Ultra Steak’s motion for summary judgment on EEOC’s sexual harassment claims. He found that EEOC had presented sufficient evidence to overcome the motion. In rejecting the employers’ argument that they had established an affirmative defense because some of Price’s victims allegedly delayed or failed to complain, Judge Graham held that questions remained regarding the companies’ efforts to stop any sexually harassing behavior.

Referring to evidence that previous complaints had been made against the restaurant manager, the court noted that EEOC had described a pattern of complaints, including evidence that “less than a month into his tenure, Price made sexual remarks to … [a] high school-aged hostess … [who] did complain, and the only response she got was not from the corporate office, but from the very person she feared: Eric Price,” who told her “not to get other people involved if she had a problem.” A jury, Judge Graham held, “could see this as the first failure in a long line of tepid responses in the face of near-constant complaints, bookended by sexual harassment of teenage girls.” The court also rejected the defendants’ argument that EEOC had failed to conciliate its claims against them as required by Title VII.

In addition to the $1.4 million in monetary relief to the victims, the five-year consent decree resolving the lawsuit requires the companies to offer reinstatement to injured women identified by EEOC in agreed locations and positions. The decree prohibits the companies from rehiring the offending manager.

The decree further requires East Columbus Host and Ultra Steak to put in place an electronic recordkeeping system to track all gender discrimination and retaliation complaints of any kind and includes mandatory reporting of any allegedly discriminatory or retaliatory adverse employment action, such as failure to hire or promote.

Further, the companies must provide training to all employees on discrimination and retaliation. Supervisory, management, and human resources personnel are to be trained on their duty to monitor the work environment; how to receive and investigate complaints of harassment or discrimination; and how to respond to complaints effectively with corrective action. East Columbus Host and Ultra Steak also are required to report to EEOC on how they handle any internal complaints of gender discrimination or retaliation, and they must post a notice about the settlement at all restaurants covered by the decree.

EEOC recently updated its [email protected] website (at http://www.eeoc.gov/youth/), which presents information for teens and other young workers about employment discrimination. The website also contains curriculum guides for students and teachers and videos to help young workers learn about their rights and responsibilities in the workforce.

Wage Theft Case Filed By Delivery Workers Against Just Salad


Delivery persons at Just Salad restaurants in New York were cheated out of their wages and overtime, according to a lawsuit filed in New York federal court. Just Salad allegedly failed to pay its employees the minimum wage and forced them to pay money out of their own pockets for the costs of delivery bikes. The Complaint claims Just Salad also forced its employees to sacrifice their own money in order to make up for the tip shortfalls of other workers, along with the laundry maintenance costs of their uniforms.

The former deliverymen claim Just Salad purposefully failed to keep accurate time records for its employees in order to mitigate their liability for the failure to pay the proper minimum and overtime wages. Further, they say Just Salad made them complete side work such as cleaning the bathroom and floor, fixing the cooler and fixing the staff room without paying them for all hours worked. The Complaint also claims that Just Salad required delivery persons to frequently bring boxes of vegetables, cheese and meat from one store to another, and then refused to pay them back for the taxi cab costs of such trips.





Groupon agrees to $2.5M Settlement for Unpaid Overtime to Sales Representatives


A federal judge approved a proposed class action settlement for $2.5 million between Groupon and over 2,024 sales representatives for wage theft and unpaid overtime violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).

Employees worked an average of 2.18 hours of overtime per week, which amounts to an average of $778 for each class member. The Complaint alleges that Groupon failed to pay non-exempt inside sales representatives their due overtime wages. Groupon contended that the employees fell into an overtime exemption and were not entitled to overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 each week.

The Complaint also claims that Groupon employed more than one hundred sales representatives after August 23, 2011. Sales reps at Groupon were responsible for “cold calling” businesses within a geographic market and selling those merchants on the benefits of offering discounted coupons on Groupon’s website, as well as “securing commitments from those merchants to run discounted coupons on Groupon’s website.”

The employees claim that Groupon failed to include earned commissions in their regular rates of pay for purposes of computing earned overtime wages from April 1, 2011 to August 22, 2011. Employees also claim that since August 23, 2011, Groupon has not paid sales representatives any overtime wages when they worked in excess of 40 hours in individual work weeks. Further, the Complaint states that “[i]n August 2011, Groupon directed sales reps to stop recording their hours worked in Groupon’s time keeping system.”

A hearing is set for November 10, 2016, where Judge Edmond E. Chang of  the U.S. District Court for the Norther, District of Illinois will hear arguments for and against final approval. Employees eligible to join the lawsuit are currently being notified about the proposed settlement.

NYC Restaurant to Pay $1.2 Million Settlement For Unpaid Overtime


Serafina Management Group Ltd., a chain operating about a dozen Italian Restaurants in New York City, Boston and Philadelphia has agreed to pay $1,270,000 to current and former employees for unpaid overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Serafina allegedly failed to pay their employees the minimum wage, engaged in unlawful tip-pooling practices by keeping 3% of tips customers had put on charge and credit cards and requiring employees to make up customers’ tip shortfalls and walkouts.

The New York City area entities covered under the settlement include Sofia Fabulous Pizza Corp., Sofia 61st Street Corp., Sofia 58th St. Corp., Serafina 77 West, LLC, Serafina Broadway, LTD., and Serafina Meatpacking LLC for actions from July 9, 2008 through February 24, 2016.

The proposed class encompasses servers, baristas, bartenders, bussers and other workers at one of the six New York City Serafina locations who were paid at the tip-credit rate. Four individual named plaintiffs each agreed to individual settlements with Serafina for amounts ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 each. The nearly $1.3 million settlement will be distributed amongst the 1,031 Class Members on the final class list.



Former employees of Wahlburgers in Brooklyn claim they were denied wages, file lawsuit

Wahlburgers (CNW Group/SoHo Metropolitan Hotel)

New York Daily News has reported that Wahlburgers, subject of the popular A&E reality show by the same name, is being sued by former employees for unpaid overtime and tip violations.  The attorneys for the former restaurant workers in the case is Louis Pechman, founder of waiterpay.com and Mitchell Schley.

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