Restaurant Law Blog

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wage and Hour Lawsuit Brought Against Famous New York City Restaurant

Wage and hour issues are common in the restaurant business.  With the complexity of the wage and overtime laws and spotty enforcement, many restaurant owners do not even know they are committing a violation.  There has been an explosion of wage and hour stories covered by news outlets in recent years.  Due to the enhanced awareness of wage and hour laws, there has been an increase in labor and employment lawsuits focusing on these issues, especially by those in the restaurant business.  An example is a recently filed suit against a famous upscale New York City restaurant.

Le Cirque restaurant caters to royalty, politicians and celebrities of every caliber.  With sky-high prices and white glove service, allegations of cheating employees out of wages may come as a surprise to some.  Former employee, Elvis Pena, claims he worked in various positions at Le Cirque including runner, bus boy and waiter and that during this time, he was not paid minimum wage.  Although he worked well over 40 hours a week, Pena claims that the restaurant did not pay him overtime wages.  He also asserts that he was forced to pool his tips with other employees and share these tips with captains, who are considered management, in violation of state and Federal labor laws.

Pena has filed a class action suit against the restaurant and its owner, Marco Maccioni, in a Federal court in New York City.  His attorney has stated that over 100 former and current employees of Le Cirque may be able to join the lawsuit as plaintiffs.  For now, Pena is seeking monetary damages.

It is unfortunate, but many restaurant owners have to deal with wage and hour lawsuits during their careers.  As the labor laws change, it is important to stay apprised of updates to ensure compliance with the newest regulations.  If you have been accused of a wage and hour violation or would like to discuss compliance with a qualified restaurant law attorney, contact the DiPasquale Law Group by calling (646) 383-4607.


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