Class Action Against Prestigious New York Restaurant Settles for $375,000: Will Other Restaurateurs Learn from This Costly Lesson?

On July 31, 2009, the team here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum filed a collective action and class action lawsuit against a prominent New York restaurant corporation. The plaintiffs we represented alleged that the restaurant failed to abide by New York state labor law and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for a combined total of seven years.

The plaintiffs alleged that the restaurant:

  • Failed to compensate them fairly for hours worked, according to rules set by both Federal and New York state law;
  • Failed to pay overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per work week;
  • Failed to remunerate them fairly per New York’s “spread of hours” premium rules;
  • Illegally deducted money from tips.

The bus boys, runners, bartenders, and servers in the class sought a variety of types of compensation, including penalties, pre and post judgment interest, liquidated damages, restitution, unpaid wages, and attorneys fees.

Without admitting wrongdoing, the restaurant settled the case for $375,000 and agreed to pay government mandated withholdings on top of that amount.

Big Restaurant Case “Rhymes” with Other Cases We’ve Successfully Prosecuted

Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP, has taken on some of the biggest and most well-known restaurateurs in New York and beyond. Our track record for fighting for and winning big cases is nearly unparalleled, especially when it comes to litigating tip withholding violations and other wage and hour issues.

Big restaurateurs fear our firm, and for good reason.

However, what motivates our passion for this litigation isn’t the urge to punish. Rather, we are driven by a burning desire to provide justice and fairness for workers who have been mistreated.

In many cases, such as the case we discussed above, bus boys, servers, barbacks and other employees often go years – sometimes decades! – without receiving fair compensation for their services. If you’re trying to survive and feed your family in New York City — and your tips are being withheld and/or you’re not receiving fair overtime payments — those seemingly minor “slights” can add up to tremendous, even crippling, inconvenience.

If you or someone you care about has not received fair compensation — or you even just suspect that your employer may not be treating you fairly — call our team today to set up a free consultation at (212) 688-5640, or find out more about us on the web at

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