Wage and Hour

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.

Famous Oklahoma Restaurant Pay Workers $52,000 for FLSA Violations


A U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigation found that Junior’s Supper Club, an Oklahoma City fine dining institution open since 1973, violated the minimum wage, overtime and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

The Department of Labor (DOL) investigation revealed that Junior’s failed to combine hours worked by employees who performed more than one job duty at the restaurant (i.e., server and busser) during a workweek. As a result, the restaurant failed to recognize when these employees worked more than 40 hours in a week and did not pay them overtime as required by the FLSA. The DOL investigation also found that Junior’s illegally deducted time from worker’s pay when no work was available (i.e., no customers in restaurant), although employees were ready to serve. This resulted in minimum wage and overtime violations for the unpaid time. In addition, the DOL investigation disclosed that Junior’s did not keep accurate records of the total number of hours employees worked in a week, a recordkeeping violation under the FLSA.

In settlement of the wage theft claims, Junior’s paid a total of $52,487 to nine workers and agreed to keep accurate records and comply with all provisions of the FLSA in the future.

“Restaurant workers are among the most vulnerable workers we see in Oklahoma,” said a DOL representative. “If an employer requires workers to be ready to serve customers whenever they walk in, the employer must pay workers for the times when there may be no customers in the facility. These workers depend on every penny they rightfully earn; cheating them out of overtime has a tremendous impact on them and their families. The resolution of this case signals the division’s commitment to protecting restaurant workers, and leveling the playing field for employers who pay their workers legally.”



Anthony Bourdain Restaurant Ordered to Pay Servers For Wage Theft Violations


Les Halles, the French Bistro which was featured in Anthony Bourdain’s New York Times bestseller Kitchen Confidential, has been ordered by a Manhattan Federal Court to pay their waitstaff for wage theft violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law. The Court issued a default judgment for the waitstaff’s minimum wage and tip misappropriation claims. According to the Order, the former waitstaff at Les Halles will also be awarded damages for misappropriation of tips.

Les Halles closed it Park Avenue South doors in March after being open for nearly 25 years. The restaurant, owned by Philipe Lajaunie, had been in eviction proceedings with the building’s landlord since December 2015. According to the Order, the Court decided that in light of Les Halles’ deteriorating financial condition it did not want to run the risk that the former waitstaff would be left with a “toothless future judgement”.

Department of Labor Agreement with Subway Will Keep Workers Protected From Wage Theft


The Department of Labor announced it signed a cooperative agreement with Subway, the world’s largest franchisor. The agreement boosts Subway’s compliance with labor laws, helping ensure that workers get paid the wages they are legally entitled.

The agreement with Subway breaks new ground in how the Department of Labor can work with the regulated community — not only with employers, but with franchisors, suppliers, retailers and others — to channel their influence to ensure that all employers along a supply chain or otherwise linked in commerce play by the rules. The agreement builds upon the Wage and Hour division’s ongoing work to provide technical assistance and training to Subway’s franchisees. It also provides an avenue for information-sharing where the Department of Labor will provide data about concluded investigations with Subway, and shares Subway’s data with the Department of Labor, generating creative problem solving and sparking new ideas to promote compliance.

When necessary, the franchisor will remind franchisees of the Wage and Hour Division’s authority to investigate their establishments and to examine records. The agreement also specifies that Subway may exercise its business judgment in dealing with a franchisee’s status within the brand, based upon any history of Fair Labor Standards Act violations. The agreement provides a model for exacting compliance, at scale, in an industry that has experienced problems.

The Department of Labor calls its collaboration with Subway a recipe for success, demonstrating how government and industry can work together to protect vulnerable workers and ensure a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

Seventh Circuit Weighs In On 80/20 Rule and Tip Credit Disputes


The Seventh Circuit addressed tip credit and 80/20  issues in a decision involving pay practices at Original Pancake House restaurants in Chicago.

On the 80/20 issue, the Court found that although some waiters and waitresses tasks may be performed by untipped staff at other restaurants, it does not make them unrelated to their server duties. The Court noted that “the possibility that a few minutes a day were devoted to keeping the restaurant tidy does not require the restaurants to pay the normal minimum wage rather than the tip credit rate for those minutes.”

On the tip credit issue, the Court analyzed the requirements of §203(m) and explained “workers are entitled to knowledge about the tip credit program but not to a comprehensive explanation.” The Seventh Circuit’s take on the requirements for notification of the tip credit was threefold: “Three things are apt to matter most to employees at establishments such as these defendants: (a) in anticipation of tips the employer will pay less than the minimum wage; (b) how much the cash wage will fall short of the current minimum wage; and (c) if tips plus the cash wage do not at least match the current minimum wage, the employer must make up the difference. We think that person told these things has been adequately “informed” for the purpose of the statute, during the time before the Department of Labor elaborated by regulation.”

Rosa Mexicano Hit With Nationwide Wage Theft Lawsuit

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 5.14.39 PM

Rosa Mexicano, the upscale Mexican restaurant chain, is being sued by its servers for stealing wages. Attorneys for the workers allege Rosa Mexicano failed to pay waitstaff minimum wage and  overtime wages and misappropriated tips in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and New York Labor Law (“NYLL”).

According to the wage theft lawsuit, Rosa Mexicano claimed an invalid tip credit and improperly paid their waitstaff at a tipped minimum wage instead of the full minimum wage. The waitstaff claims in their lawsuit that Rosa Mexicano did not inform them they would be paid at tipped minimum wage and misappropriated their tips, violating the FLSA and NYLL. Tips were shared with “floaters”, who conducted miscellaneous tasks around the restaurant without ever having customer contact. According to the lawsuit, these “floaters” were not entitled to sharing in a tip pool, invalidating Rosa Mexicano’s tip credit.

The lawsuit claims that Rosa Mexicano did not pay waitstaff for hours worked over forty per week. Some former servers claim to work up to 50 hours per week without receiving overtime pay. The lawsuit also alleges that waitresses, waiters, bussers, and bartenders did not receive “call-in pay” required under NYLL, when they reported for work only to be sent home before being able to work three hours. One of the former workers claims this happened on 146 shifts.

Attorneys for the waitstaff seek to recover unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime wages, unpaid “call-in pay”, liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees. Rosa Mexicano has locations in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Minneapolis. The workers are represented by Fitapelli & Schaffer, a New York law firm.

T.I.’s Atlanta Restaurant Employees Are Suing Him for Unpaid Wages

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 2.07.06 PM

Twelve restaurant workers employed by Scales 925, a restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia owned by Clifford Harris – the famous rapper formerly known as T.I. – are suing the Atlanta restaurant for minimum and overtime wage violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The wage theft lawsuit alleges that the waitstaff would routinely work more than 40 hours per week without being paid overtime and spent more than twenty percent of their time performing non-tipped tasks.

According to the lawsuit, waiters and waitresses were required to work off the clock for three hours before they were allowed to go home. The waitstaff complained to Scales 925 about not being paid overtime, but Scales 925 management ignored their complaints. In addition, the lawsuit claims the restaurant unlawfully deducted money from server’s paychecks for broken glasses, even if no glasses were broken. The restaurant also deducted money from servers’ paychecks supposedly to pay for busboys, which the busboys claimed they never received.

DISCLAIMER: The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form. Please verify that you have read the disclaimer.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form