Fig & Olive restaurants have been sued by a former worker for failure to pay its waitstaff federal and state minimum wage for all hours worked, for instituting a tip scheme which was not determined nor agreed upon by the waitstaff, and for failure to provide proper wage statements informing the tipped employees of the amount of tip credit taken for each payment period.
On September 5, 2014, a former busboy of the restaurant’s New York City Fifth Avenue location filed a federal court lawsuit against Fig & Olive, a national chain of restaurants known for its specialty olive oils. The class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of waiters, busboys, runners, bartenders, and barbacks, alleging various violations against the restaurants’ seven locations across the United States. Among the various pay violations alleged, attorneys for the workers claim that the restaurants were not allowed to take a tip credit (which would allow the restaurants to pay a minimum wage at a rate less than the state and federal minimum wage) since the restaurants’ violations of the tip pool invalidated the tip credit. Attorneys for the waiter allege that the restaurant also violated the workers’ rights by failing to pay them for all hours worked through a policy of time-shaving, and failing to pay them call-in pay premium on days when they were sent home when they arrived at the beginning of the shift. Under the New York Labor Law, call-in pay must be paid to an employee who is reports for duty on any day, regardless of whether the employee is assigned actual work. The workers also claim that the restaurants failed to provide them with wage notices and wage statements as required by state and federal law. Lawyers for the workers are seeking unpaid wages, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.