Wage & Hour Violations Haunt NY Restaurants

Author: Stephen D. Hans & Associates

Between wage and hour lawsuits filed by the federal government and those filed by plaintiff’s employment law attorneys, the New York restaurant industry has been hard hit with legal conflicts and costly settlements in 2011.

Are You Placing Your Business at Risk?

Restaurants and other small businesses often place themselves at risk with improper record keeping, failure to pay minimum wages and overtime compensation. Adding to the problem are a maze of state and federal regulations that are difficult to understand, which makes it easy for restaurants to “trip up” and make potentially costly mistakes that can lead to expensive and time-consuming litigation.

Examples of some of the wage and hour cases and settlements involving New York restaurants this year include:

May 2011 – A federal judge in the Southern District of New York certified a class action suit against eight of Mario Batali’s New York restaurants. Batali’s restaurant servers claim that they are paid less than minimum wage and that the restaurants retain a portion of their tips unlawfully.

March 2011 – The federal government filed a wage and hour lawsuit against a group of New York restaurants in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The American Beauty Diner, American Dream Diner and American Classic Diner, the restaurants’ owner and managers were named in the lawsuit after the DOL investigated the restaurants and accused the employers of violating the FLSA when they failed to pay employees minimum wage and overtime compensation according to federal law and violated recordkeeping regulations. The restaurants’ employees also claimed they were discriminated against after attempting to exercise their federal wage and hour rights by complaining about the violations.

February 2011 – Eighteen workers at Baluchi’s Indian Food filed suit seeking to recover minimum wages, overtime pay and misappropriated tips, under the FLSA and New York state wage and hour laws on behalf of a class of workers. Judge Richard J. Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York approved a $1 million settlement.

February 2011 –
The U.S. Department of Labor has recovered $780,000 in back wages and liquidated damages for 40 employees of Martino’s Pizzeria Inc., doing business as Mama’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, in Copiague, N.Y., resolving a lawsuit filed against the company for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Review Wage & Hour Practices with an Employment Law Attorney

Seeking legal advice and guidance from an experienced employment defense attorney can ensure that your business is complying with state and federal regulations,

At the Law Office of Stephen D. Hans & Associates, our New York attorneys can explain how the wage and hour laws apply to your industry and advise you on maintaining time, payroll and tip records in accordance with federal law.

Whether your business is under wage and hour investigation, is facing an employment lawsuit, or needs legal help to avoid employment disputes, call our NY law firm at (718) 275-6700 or email us to arrange a consultation and find out how our attorneys can help protect your legal rights.

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