Ruby Tuesday’s Times Square location was sued for wage theft by a former bartender, Amanda Zarfos, who alleges that the restaurant failed to pay tipped employees for all hours worked and violated the so called 80/20 rule.
The lawsuit, filed in New York federal court, claims that during her employment at Ruby Tuesdays, servers and bartenders at Ruby Tuesday were improperly paid at the tipped minimum wage rate for all hours worked even though they spent more than 20 percent of her shifts performing work that involved no customer interaction and did not generate tips. For example, Zarfos was required to brew beverages, cut lemons, bake bread, help pack to-go orders, and wipe wood. According to the Department of Labor’s Field Operations Handbook,
The FLSA permits the employer to take a tip credit for time spent in duties related to the tipped occupation of an employee, even though such duties, are not by themselves directed toward producing tips, provided such related duties are incidental to the regular duties of the tipped employees and are generally assigned to the tipped employee. For example, duties related to the tipped occupation may include a server who does preparatory or closing activities, rolls silverware and fills salt and pepper shakers while the restaurant is open, cleans and sets tables, makes coffee, and occasionally washes dishes or glasses. However, where the facts indicate that tipped employees spend a substantial amount of time (in excess of 20 percent of the hours worked in the tipped occupation in the workweek) performing such related duties, no tip credit may be taken for the time spent in those duties. All related duties count toward the 20 percent tolerance.
Similarly, the New York Labor law has an analogous prohibition covering non-tipped work exceeding 20 percent of a shift.
Attorneys for the restaurant workers also claim that tipped employees were required to work off-the-clock without pay. The lawsuit claims that employees were not allowed to clock in despite the restaurant knowing and expecting them to start working. Willful refusal to pay employees wages for off-the-clock work is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.
Indus Valley Restaurant, an Indian restaurant on the Upper West Side, has been ordered by a New York Judge to pay $1.4 million in back pay and damages to five former restaurant workers for wage violations.
Indus Valley, now closed, was accused by the workers of failing to pay minimum wage, overtime, and spread of hours pay as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law. The workers who sued the restaurant included two cooks, a food runner, a waiter, and a busboy. The workers, who regularly worked up to seventy-two hours per week, were each paid a fixed weekly salary, rather than an hourly wage. They did not receive overtime payment when they worked over forty hours in a workweek. Three of the employees are also owed unpaid minimum wages.
The decision follows an inquest at which the employees gave sworn testimony about their weekly schedules and payments from Indus Valley. The owners failed to appear and were held in default by the Court. Indus Valley is ordered to pay $1,412,318.66 plus interest, for unpaid wages, liquidated and statutory damages. Laura Rodriguez, an associate at Pechman Law Group, was lead attorney on this case.
Bagatelle will pay $1.1 million to settle a wage theft lawsuit claiming that the restaurant misappropriated the tips of its food service employees and improperly used a tip credit to pay restaurant workers less than the minimum wage, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. Bagatelle, the popular upscale French restaurant located in New York City’s Meatpacking District and self-described “NYC institution” is alleged to have required its food service workers, including servers, runners, bussers, and bartenders to share tips with tip ineligible employees, such as managers and silver polishers. According to the lawsuit, brought by two servers who worked at the restaurant in 2015, when one of the servers asked his manager how much he had earned in tips on a particular night, he was referred to two different managers and never received an answer.
Attorneys for the workers also alleged that Bagatelle used a tip credit to pay its food service workers at the tipped minimum wage, despite failing to give them notice and requiring them to share tips with back of the house employees such as glass polishers and food expeditors.
The proposed settlement encompasses all servers, runners, bussers, and bartenders who worked at Bagatelle from January 1, 2012 to March 1, 2017. It is estimated that the settlement will cover at least 100 workers and will be distributed in two categories: a. the amount of tips each worker received during his or her work period at Bagatelle, and b. a calculation based on total weeks worked.
Food Network personality Willie Degel has been accused of cheating his housekeeper out of overtime, minimum wage, and spread of hours pay, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in the Eastern District of New York.
Lawyers for Ann Jimenez, a domestic worker who worked at Degels’ mansions in Long Island, allege that she worked more than ten hours a day and seventy hours a week, but was paid a flat salary between $400 and $500 per week, an amount that came out to less than minimum wage.
Degel, who is best known for his role on the Food Network show “Restaurant Stakeout,” is also currently facing a lawsuit by the waiters, busboys and servers at his Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse restaurants in New York City. Attorneys in that case claim that the restaurants failed to pay the servers overtime and wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law.