Tag Archives: Restaurant Gratuity

Sushi Yasuda to Pay $2.4 Million to Settle Wage Claims

sushi yasuda

Sushi Yasuda, widely recognized as one of the best Japanese restaurants in New York, has settled a lawsuit for $2.4 million dollars according to a proposed settlement agreement filed in New York federal court.

The restaurant’s front of the house staff alleged that Sushi Yasuda violated the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law by failing to pay employees for all the hours worked, unlawfully taking a “tip credit” and paying the employees less than the minimum wage, and failing to pay employees spread-of-hours pay when they worked more than ten hours in a day.

Sushi chefs, bussers and the waitstaff at the restaurant will receive a proportional share of the Settlement Fund based on the number of shifts they worked from December 3, 2006 to May 12, 2013.  According to the attorneys for the workers, over 100 employees will be covered by the settlement.

The restaurant recently received wide press coverage for its elimination of tips when owners decided to give customers an authentic Japanese dining experience by following the Japanese custom of not tipping.  The restaurant rolled out its policy on its bills and menus, which stated, “Following custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary.  Therefore gratuities are not accepted.  Thank you.”

Waiterpay Founder Featured on Brooklyn TV

Louis Pechman, the founder of Waiterpay, was a featured guest on BK Live’s June 2, 2014 segment on Tipped Wages.  The segment focused on pay issues in New York City restaurants, including concerns about the increase in lawsuits for illegal pay practices.  Among the topics discussed were the differences between minimum wage and tipped minimum wage, the complicated set of laws involving the tip credit, spread of hours, and other worker rights issues.

Food Network Celebrity Willie Degel Agrees to Pay $900,000 to Settle Wage and Hour Lawsuit

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Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse and its owner, Food Network Celebrity Willie Degel, will pay $900,000 to settle a wage theft lawsuit filed against its restaurants located in Bayside, Queens and Midtown, New York City.  Ironically, Degel was featured on Food Network’s Restaurant Stakeout, a show which followed Degel as he visited restaurants across the country with hidden cameras to capture their food service problems and attempted to fix them.

On May 22, 2014, Judge Loretta Preska, Chief United States District Court Judge in the Southern District of New York, approved a $900,000 settlement between the restaurants and its workers, who alleged that their worker rights were violated by the restaurant.  Approximately 239 restaurant workers who worked between September 2002 and September 2008 at the New York City and Queens restaurants are expected to benefit from the settlement.

The lawsuit, which was filed in 2008 by captains, waiters, runners, bussers, and bartenders, alleged that the restaurants failed to pay them at the legally required minimum wage, routinely shaved their hours when they worked over 40 hours and refused to pay them overtime wages for hours worked over 40, misappropriated gratuities belonging to the waitstaff, failed to pay spread of hours pay when the employees’ workdays exceeded ten hours, and refused to pay for employee uniforms or laundering of such uniforms.

TGI Friday’s Hit With Lawsuit For Tip Theft, Minimum Wage, and Other Labor Law Violations

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TGI Friday’s was hit with a lawsuit by its servers for violations of state and federal wage payment laws.  According to the lawyers for the workers, which include current and former servers, bussers, runners, bartenders, barbacks, hosts, and other tipped workers, the restaurant chain faces a national class action lawsuit as a result of the alleged violations of workers’ rights.

The Complaint, which was filed in federal court by four former TGI Friday’s workers from the New York metro area, alleges that the restaurant required tipped workers to arrive at work before their scheduled start time and to stay at work after the restaurant closed without receiving the minimum wages and overtime to which they were entitled under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law (NYLL).

In addition, the workers allege that the restaurant shaved hours from employee time records and allowed employees to work off-the-clock to perform side work such as cleaning the restaurant, preparing food in bulk for customers, cutting produce, refilling condiments, and stocking and replenishing the bar and service areas.

The lawsuit seeks to recover minimum wages, overtime compensation, spread-of-hours pay, misappropriated tips, uniform-related expenses, unlawful deductions, and other wages for current and former workers at TGI Friday’s restaurants throughout the nation owned and/or operated by Carrollton, Texas-based Carlson Restaurants Inc., Carlson Restaurants Worldwide Inc., and TGI Friday’s Inc. nationwide.

TGI Friday’s Settles Waiter Lawsuit for $2.8 Million Dollars

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A $2.856 million dollar settlement between ten TGI Friday’s restaurants in New York owned by the Riese Organization, and its waitstaff, has been approved by a New York federal court judge.

The class action lawsuit, which was filed by the workers in 2012, alleged that TGI Friday’s failed to properly pay its tipped workers, including its servers, bussers, runners, bartenders, and barbacks.  In particular, the restaurant workers alleged that the restaurants did not pay their employees minimum wage or proper overtime compensation, failed to pay spread-of-hours pay or call-in pay, made unlawful deductions, encouraged workers to work “off the clock” when performing side-work, and engaged in other violations of the restaurant workers’ rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.

This settlement, which was approved by Judge Richard Sullivan on March 7, 2014, will provide back pay and damages for waiters, waitresses, and other waitstaff who worked between November 20, 2006 through June 30, 2013 at the TGI Friday’s restaurants in Manhattan.  Approximately 2,600 employees are covered by the settlement.

Philadelphia Newspapers Give Shout Out to Waiterpay.com

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The Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News have recognized waiterpay.com in their recent coverage on the record $8.5 million settlement with Chickie’s & Pete’s restaurants.

Waiters Get Prime Cut of $446,000 Wage Settlement From Wolfgang’s Steakhouse

Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, rated as one of the best steakhouses in New York City, will pay its current and former waitstaff $446,500 to resolve claims that the restaurant committed wage violations and engaged in improper pay practices.

United States District Court Judge Analisa Torres issued a judgment approving the settlement agreement between Wolfgang’s Steakhouse and current and former tipped employees of the restaurants which reimburses the workers for violations of waiters rights under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law.  The lawsuit, which was brought as a class action on behalf of servers, bartenders, bar-backs, and coat check employees, alleged that the restaurant failed to properly pay its workers for all hours worked, overtime, spread of hours pay, failed to reimburse their workers for the cost of their uniforms, and misappropriated tips.

The settlement with the restaurant covers 130 servers who worked at Wolfgang’s Park Avenue and Tribeca locations between February 9, 2009 and December 16, 2013 and provides payment for the restaurant workers’ attorneys.

Restaurant Worker Rights Group Is Accused of Misconduct

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Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), a restaurant worker rights advocacy group has been accused of misconduct.  In an opinion piece published in the New York Post, Mike Paranzing accused the ROC of being a labor union front that doesn’t practice what it preaches.  Acccording to Paranzing, ROC exploited its own workers and cheated its employees at the restaurant Colors, and is guilty of the same labor abuses and health violations that it has leveled against other restaurants.

The FLSA at 75

The Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), which was signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt on June 25, 1938 outlawed “oppressive child labor,” imposed a federal minimum wage of 25 cents per hour, and required overtime for hours worked over 40 in a week. But the America we live in is far different from that which existed 75 years ago and both employee advocates and company executives have raised serious questions as to how well the FLSA is currently working.  Read the full article written Louis Pechman, founder of waiterpay.com, on The Huffington Post.

Rainforest Café’s Tip Out Policy Challenged in Lawsuit

Servers at the Rainforest Café have filed a lawsuit against the restaurant alleging that its tip out policy unlawfully requires its waitstaff to share tips with non-service employees.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Massachusetts Superior Court by two waitresses, alleges that the Burlington, Massachusetts wild animal themed restaurant required them to give a portion of their tips to hosts and hostesses to supplement the wages of these non-waitstaff workers.  The workers also allege that the restaurant retained a portion of their gratuities for bussers, hostesses, and bartenders even when no bussers, hostesses, or bartenders were working during their shifts.

Lawyers for the waitresses claim that because of the illegal tip share policy, along with the improper deductions from the waitstaff’s pay, the company failed to pay its workers the lawful minimum wage as required by Massachusetts wage and hour law.