Another High Profile New York City Wage and Hour Violation Spearheaded by Attorney Kirschenbaum
This article, from GrubStreet.com, highlights yet another case of wage and hour violations at a renowned New York City eatery. This time, the target is Carmine's, a popular tourist spot. A waiter at the restaurant, Ronaldo Silva, has alleged that the midtown restaurant failed to provide overtime pay and compelled him to share tips with workers who didn't deal directly with customers - in particular, "napkin rollers" and people who made coffee.
Silva's suit -- which is being spearheaded by Joseph & Kirschenbaum's own Maimon Kirschenbaum -- also alleges that the restaurant violated a law that compels employers who send staff home early to pay "call in pay" - essentially, to compensate the employees for showing up, even if they are not used for service.
The article discusses how Silva's complaint may be the first of several to follow. Perhaps this case will evolve into a class action suit against the New York City restaurant.
This September 21st story from the New York Post discusses allegations that serious tip skimming took place at the Institute of Culinary Education. Joseph and Kirschenbaum’s Maimon Kirschenbaum – an attorney known throughout New York City for aggressively pursuing wage and hour violations against renowned restaurateurs, including (recently) Mario Batali – represents four waiters who used to work for the Institute.
According to the class action filed on behalf of the waiters, the Institute illegally retained a large percentage of gratuities the waiters got for working parties at high profile locations, such as Google and MTV parties and parties for Ernest & Young, a large accounting firm. The suit – filed in Manhattan Federal Court – said that “waiters got less than half of the 20% mandatory surcharge” for their work at these cooking demonstrations. Attorney Kirschenbaum was quoted in the article: “They [the waiters] worked hard to give customers the best possible experience… it’s mind-boggling that the Institute would retain a part of their tips.”
The September 2 article from the Wall Street Journal discusses several high-profile cases of New York City wage and hour violations – specifically actions against restaurateurs Chris Cannon, Michael White, Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Masaharu Morimoto. Attorney Maimon Kirschenbaum (of Joseph & Kirschenbaum) has filed many high profile actions against New York City restaurateurs over the past several years – including recent actions against Italian uber chef Mario Batali and “Iron Chef” Morimoto.
The WSJ article quoted the New York State Restaurant Association’s Director of Operations about this spate of cases: “[restaurant] operators have the best of intentions to comply with all the labor laws, but they are fearful that a small mistake related to a complex labor law could potentially result in a suit.”
But attorney Kirschenbaum and others rebuffed this criticism. Per attorney Kirschenbaum: “We don't chase people, people chase us... they are being wronged and they are being taken advantage off by big corporations with a lot of power.” Cynthia Estlund, a New York University School of Law Professor, weighed in on the controversy over the spate of New York City wage and hour cases: “I think there are lot of practices in the restaurant industry that were going on for a long time that were ripe for litigation.”