A Closer Look at New York Restaurant Wage and Hour Violation Case Against Popular Ethnic Restaurant

In May, Joseph & Kirschenbaum finalized a class action settlement in a major New York City wage and hour violation case that could have tectonic implications for the restaurant industry.

Although we cannot disclose detailed facts about this case, this blog post will explain what happened and provide you with resources to manage your own situation, if you or someone you love has been financially hurt by tip pool violations or other workplace malfeasance.

The plaintiff was an out-of-state resident who worked at a big, highly respected fine ethnic restaurant over the past three years. He and other members of the class alleged that defendant committed “wage and hour” violations, knowingly and willfully, by retaining tips in violation of New York law that caused economic injury.

The defendants kept a major portion of the plaintiffs’ tips, failing to distribute gratuity. If and when a customer tipped in excess of 20%, the defendant forced waitstaff to pool their money and divvy it up among non-service employees, in violation of the law.

That may seem to be an insubstantial slight. But when you tally up the amount of money lost to the class over the year, the damages boggle the mind. They exceeded $1 million, independent of the disbursements, fees, costs, and interest! That’s a tremendous amount of money that “went missing” for servers and other hardworking employees.

If this case were an anomaly, it would still constitute something of a tragedy.

Unfortunately, as we’ve discussed in multiple blog posts recently, this kind of wage and hour violation “scheme” has bordered on the pathological, at least among institutions here in New York City. It is simply not okay – nor is it legal – for esteemed and critically adored restaurants to withhold tips and gratuities illegally from hardworking servers. Nor is it okay or legal to violate other laws, such as New York’s “premium hours” laws or the state’s overtime laws.

What to Do If You Suspect a Tip Law Violation Or Other Wage and Hour Violation

The team here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP, is uniquely positioned to help you. We’ve earned a reputation as one of the most active and effective law firms in New York for dealing with tip pool violations and other wage and hour issues. Get in touch with our office right now at (212) 688-5640 for a free, confidential consultation.

We’ll help you plot out a precise and strategic course of action to get justice done.