Tag Archives: Class Action Lawsuit

Rosa Mexicano Reaches $3.6 Million Settlement with Servers for Tip Violations and Overtime

rosa mexicano overtime pay lawsuit tip theft

Rosa Mexicano has agreed to pay $3.6 million to settle a nationwide class action lawsuit alleging that the upscale Mexican restaurant chain failed to pay its waitstaff minimum and overtime wages and misappropriated tips.  The settlement agreement covers an estimated 3,500 employees at twelve locations in New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and Minneapolis.

The restaurant workers filed the lawsuit suit in New York federal court in July of 2016, arguing 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 Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and the New York Labor Law (“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 wage theft lawsuit also claimed that Rosa Mexicano did not pay waitstaff for hours worked over forty per week. Some former servers claimed 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.  For these violations, the employees sought to recover unpaid minimum wages, unpaid overtime wages, unpaid “call-in pay”, liquidated damages and attorneys’ fees.

The attorneys for the restaurant workers are Fitapelli & Schaffer, a New York law firm. The settlement is subject to approval by United States Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis.

 

 

Le Pain Quotidien Sued For Minimum Wage and Overtime Violations

le pain quotidien

Servers at Le Pain Quotidien restaurants in New York City, claim they have been unlawfully denied minimum wage and overtime pay, according to a class action lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.

The lawsuit alleges that the restaurants paid its waiters and waitresses a reduced tipped minimum wage rate, but did not satisfy the requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act or the New York Labor Law by which they could take the “tip credit.”  Attorneys for the workers claim that the restaurant should not have paid the workers the federal tipped minimum wage because the restaurant failed to inform the waiters and waitresses of the tip credit provisions of the law.

Attorneys for the workers also claim that the restaurant was not able to take the tip credit because the waiters and waitresses were required to perform substantial non-tipped “side work,” that equaled more than twenty percent of their time at work.  That “side work” included polishing silverware, washing the tables, slicing and preparing the bread, and sweeping and mopping floors.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), employers are allowed to take a “tip credit” and pay waiters, bussers, and bartenders below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. (Note: minimum wage in New York is now $8.00 per hour).  For example, the “tip credit” for waitstaff in New York is currently $3.00 per hour, meaning that waiters, busboys, and bartenders can be paid an hourly minimum wage of $5.00 per hour.  The United States Department of Labor regulations provide, however, that a restaurant will not qualify for the “tip credit” for employees that spend more than 20% of their time performing non-tipped work.

Restaurant workers and employers in New York State should note that the twenty percent rule is already in effect for waiters, bussers, and bartenders in New York.  The New York State Department of Labor’s Hospitality Wage Order specifically provides a twenty percent rule for restaurants that take a tip credit.  Subpart 146-2.9 of the Hospitality Wage Order states:

On any day that a service employee or food service worker works at a non-tipped occupation (a) for two hours or more, or (b) for more than twenty percent (20%) of his or her shift, whichever is less, the wages of the employee shall be subject to no tip credit for that day.

The case against Le Pain Quotidien seeks back wages, penalties, and attorneys’ fees and an injunction to protect workers rights.

Race Discrimination Lawsuit Filed against Panera Bread Restaurants

panera bread logo

A race discrimination class action lawsuit has been filed by an African-American sandwich line worker at a Pennsylvania Panera Bread restaurant claiming that black employees were denied opportunities for promotion to management positions.

The Complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleges that Panera restaurants precluded “Fat, Black, and Ugly” people from its workforce and kept these individuals away from customer contact. The lawsuit alleges that restaurant management adopted a racially-based hiring and work assignment policy and that blacks were routinely assigned to jobs in the back of the store, washing dishes or in food preparation, so customers would not see them.

Attorneys for the worker seek class action status for the case and compensatory and punitive damages for a class of African-American workers at Panera Bread who sought management positions at the restaurant.