Here’s a tip: keep your employees happy
Actress Jessica Biel has played many roles on the big screen, but she is now playing a very different part – that of defendant.
Recently, nine employees accused the Hollywood star and her business partners, including Estee Stanley, Joey Gonzalez, Kimberly Muller, and Jonathan Rollo, of withholding gratuity that they were legally entitled to collect. The employees, who were mostly former employees, are suing Biel and Au Fudge for fraud, stealing employee gratuities, and other damages. Plaintiffs contend that the owners pocketed gratuity collected at private events, which reached over $430,000. Additionally, plaintiffs claim to be victims of other illegal payroll practices, including not receiving compensation for overtime work and other wage withholdings. The disgruntled employees also accuse the restaurant owners of denying them meal and rest breaks that they were legally entitled to. Read more
Want fries with that?
A former Five Guys employee recently filed a lawsuit accusing the popular California chain of violating multiple labor laws. Jeremy R. Lusk, the plaintiff, accused Five Guys Burgers of failing to give him the requisite meal and rest breaks, forcing him to use a personal car without reimbursement for work-related activities, and unlawfully performing credit and background checks on current employees and potential hires, among other grievances. Read more
- A pile of delicious spaghetti (representative of but not actually Batali’s, though)
Celebrity chef Mario Batali has settled with his disgruntled workers over allegations he skimmed 4-5% of servers’ tips at the end of every night at his high-profile restaurants. The employees claimed that they were not paid overtime when they worked for over 10 hours and that Batali took the tip money to pay the salaries of sommeliers at his other New York restaurants. The settlement comes in the wake of an overhaul of New York wage laws, which one lawyer connected with the case said made the circumstances “ambiguous”. Overall, tip-skimming is illegal, and restaurant owners need only follow the guidelines set by the New York legislature to avoid similar lawsuits.
I went to one of these restaurants a few years ago as part of a company morale type of thing at my old job. The food was pretty good, but not exactly worth the money paid for it. I guess it’s more about the name at the front of the restaurant than the meal itself. But anyway, between 20 or so people, the bill turned out to be more than $1,000 with wine and whatnot, if I recall correctly, and probably more knowing my old boss. A 20% tip on that would be $200, and 5% of that would be $10 going to Batali’s sommeliers. It seems like a pittance to file a lawsuit over when you look at it localized like this, but compounded over however many hundreds of meals are served per day over five years and between at least eight restaurants, this number becomes astounding. If the tip-skimming was truly as widespread as the plaintiffs alleged, Batali should be thankful that he only had to pay $5.25 million.