Tag Archives: Cooks

‘Essen Sued for Wage Violations

Essen NY Logo

‘Essen, a to-go café with locations in Midtown East, Hell’s Kitchen, and Financial District in New York City, has been hit with a wage violation lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that the cafe failed to pay several cooks, food preparers and salad preparers minimum wage, overtime pay, and spread-of-hours pay. The lawsuit claims that these cooks, food preparers, and salad preparers would work between 48 to 78 hours a week, and would be paid fixed weakly salaries regardless of how many hours they worked. The employees also claim that they were forced to buy “tools of the trade” such as work uniforms out of their own pockets. Lastly, the lawsuit asserts that ‘Essen required employees to sign documents claiming they were paid properly in order to disguise the actual number of hours worked by employees.

For example, one employee claims worked approximately 78 hours a week and was paid a fixed weekly salary of $550.00. His hourly wage rate for those weeks was approximately $7.00, below the minimum wage. This employee also claims was asked to sign a document which he didn’t understand in order to receive his pay, and did not receive his pay when he failed to do so.

China Grill Sous Chefs Sue for Overtime Pay

china grill management logo

Sous Chefs who worked in the kitchen at restaurants owned by China Grill Management, including Ed’s Chowder House, Empire Hotel Rooftop, and China Grill, have sued the restaurants for denial of overtime compensation required by federal and state wage and hour laws.

The employees allege in their Class Action Complaint, filed in New York federal court, that they were not paid an overtime premium for all hours worked over 40 in a given work week. The workers claim they were misclassified as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which requires each covered employer to compensate all non-exempt employees at a rate of at least one and one-half times the regular rate of pay for work performed in excess of forty hours per work week.

The sous chefs seek unpaid overtime wages, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.  Under the FLSA, kitchen workers and cooks are generally entitled to overtime unless they are salaried employees who fall into an administrative, professional, or executive exemption from the law.