New York Sushi Restaurant Case: Class Action Status Granted for Our Clients

Getting a class action status approved for a Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) case is no small task, even for the experienced employment law attorneys here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum. However, achieving this milestone can be critical. It can make all the difference in the world, when it comes to getting obtaining fair treatment and benefits.

In that light, we were very pleased to learn that a United States District Court Judge recently granted us class action status, in a case that pits restaurant workers against a very well-known set of New York City sushi restaurants.

The plaintiff alleges, among other things, that the defendants:

• Failed to pay minimum hourly wage, per the FLSA;
• Failed to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week;
• Did not comply with New York State Laws’ “spread of hours” requirement;
• Did not comply with New York Labor Laws’ notice requirements;
The plaintiff sought class action status, pursuant to the FLSA, over both the overtime and minimum wage issues.

So what exactly happened? Here are the compelling allegations:

• As a food preparer and dishwasher, the plaintiff had to work from 11 AM to 11 PM, 6 days a week. That’s an average of 72 hours per week. Yet he only received $350 dollars a week, which meant several things: he got paid less than minimum wage; and his employer failed to pay mandatory overtime for his working more than 40 hours a week.

A Single Frustrated Worker Can Make a Huge Difference by Standing Up
One worker who’s willing to stand up for his rights, and the rights of his coworkers, can revolutionize a business and even change an industry.

When restaurants “nickel and dime” employees — by trying to get them to work off the clock; by failing to pay them due overtime, and by paying less than the minimum wage — these actions set off a chain reaction of badness that percolates through the entire city. A wage earner who doesn’t receive fair compensation may not be able to afford healthcare or good food for his family. This in turn can cause grief for the family, which can in turn create problems in the community, and so on and so forth.

That’s why these “nickel and dime” issues are about so much more than getting workers a few more dollars per week for the hard work they do. These cases, ultimately, seek to preserve and protect the fabric of civilized society.

If you or someone you love has been struggling with a problem at your workplace — such as sexual harassment, racial discrimination, retaliation, or a wage and hour violation — the team at Joseph & Kirschenbaum would like to provide a confidential, free consultation. Call us at (212) 688-5640, or email us at info@jhllp.com for help now.