After a four-day trial, a jury ruled that Las Margaritas, a restaurant in Astoria, is liable to two former waitresses for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. The waitresses were represented by Vivianna Morales and Lou Pechman, founder of waiterpay.com.
The six-person jury found that Las Margaritas willfully failed to pay the waitresses the minimum wage, and determined that the restaurant was not permitted to apply a tip credit towards their wages, as the restaurant failed to abide by the strict tip credit notice requirements. After hearing detailed testimony regarding the hours worked by the waitresses, the jury ruled that the waitresses worked more than forty hours a week but did not receive overtime pay for those hours and worked more than ten hours a day and did not receive spread of hours pay.
The jury determined that Las Margaritas also violated New York’s Wage Theft Prevention Act because it failed to provide the annual written wage notice and paid the waitresses their wages without a paystub. 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 case was tried before Magistrate Judge Cheryl Pollak, who issued an important decision that addresses tip credit requirements under the New York Labor Law.