As reported in Newsday, Giulio Cesare Ristorante, a long-time Italian restaurant in Westbury that opened in 1972, was hit with a wage payment lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, brought by three former workers—a server, a busser, and a bartender, Giulio Cesare Ristorante and its owners failed to pay them overtime at a rate of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for weekly hours worked over forty. The lawsuit also alleges that portions of the tips intended for the waitstaff at Giulio Cesare Ristorante were kept by its owners, that the bartender who at times worked over 61 hours per workweek without receiving overtime wages, and that the server and busser were paid shift pay at a fixed amount of money per shift, rather than hourly wages. Further, the lawsuit alleges that at times when the workers worked double shifts, their hourly wages were less than the minimum wage.
The former waitstaff claim that one of the head waiters, a son of one of the owners, who was responsible for dividing and distributing tips to the waitstaff, kept portions of the gratuities for the house. Despite repeated complaints by the waitstaff, the workers say Giulio Cesare Ristorante and its owners allowed the practice to continue. Additionally, the lawsuit claims the owners themselves pocketed tips and that the head waiter stated that Giulio Cesare Ristorante used customer gratuities to pay kitchen workers holiday pay and to provide them vacation pay when the restaurant closed each year for three weeks in July.
The workers also allege Giulio Cesare Ristorante failed to pay them spread-of-hours pay at an additional hour’s pay at the minimum wage for every day in which their workday spanned more than ten hours and that they never received required notices and statements concerning their pay.
The workers are represented by Louis Pechman and Gregory Slotnick of Pechman Law Group PLLC.