Maimon's Latest Target: Japonais
This City File article discusses yet another Wage and Hour lawsuit filed by New York restaurateurs' most feared attorney, Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP's Maimon Kirschenbaum. He has filed suit against Japonais restaurant for failing to pay workers minimum wage and bilking servers out of the gratuities owed. The suit seeks relief pursuant to the FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure). In addition to claiming that the restaurant made illegal pay deductions and deductions from gratuities, the suit makes several other claims. Tack another one on the board for Maimon Kirschenbaum, who, on behalf of the working class, has already gone after New York City's "biggest game" -- including Heartland Brewery, Wolfgang Steakhouse, and Nobu -- for wage and hour violations.
This March 17, 2009 article posted on The New York Times' blog details the legal woes of New York's esteemed 21 Club, which is being sued for serious Wage and Hour violations. This 52nd Street restaurant has long served as a meeting place for New York's most powerful and well healed; it has widely been regarded as one of the top eateries on the East Coast. However, according to allegations filed by Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP's own Maimon Kirschenbaum in District Court, the 21 Club's employees have been systematically deprived of gratuity monies owed for decades.
Due to statutory limitations, 21 Club employees can only sue for gratuities lost over the past six years. But -- with dozens of employees joining in on the class action -- the money amount contested could still reach well over a million dollars. The suit in particular alleges that servers did not receive full payment for gratuity earned while working special banquets. Customers would tip 21.75%, but the waitstaff would only receive 18% -- the other 3.75% was illegally withheld.
When compared to some other recently-exposed Wage and Hour violations in the restaurant industry, this practice may not seem so terrible -- at least, not at first. But consider that this small but systemic violation likely (according to the allegations) resulted in depriving hardworking service workers of nearly a million dollars.
This July 27, 2007 New York Post piece discusses alleged violations at the restaurants of one of France's most renowned culinary wizards, Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP's ace Wage and Hour violations expert Maimon Kirschenbaum filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of workers at Vongerichten's restaurants. This renowned group of defendants includes Spice Market, Vong, and Nougatine. Vongerichten is no stranger to defending job employment discrimination cases. Another restaurant in his empire, V Steakhouse, was closed in 2005 after wage hour violations had been alleged.