Park Avenue Winter Experiences Legal Discontent
This February 2008 article in The New York Magazine covers a Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP wage violation lawsuit led by our prolific partner Maimon Kirschenbaum. The case involves the restaurant Park Avenue Winter, which is a part of a group of restaurants owned by celebrated industry power house, The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group. The matter is complex and multifaceted. The plaintiffs -- a waiter and captains at The Park Avenue Winter -- allege that their tips had been sliced and diced and given away to non-tipped workers. They also contend that several employees of East Asian descent were discriminated against on the basis of international origin. Plaintiff Salim Shahriar, for one, claims he suffered insurance problems and financial trouble after his new manager reduced his hours for purportedly no other reason than that he was of East Asian descent.
Starbucks Sued in New York Over Tip Issue
This April 4, 2008 article from the New York Times discusses the unusual situation of wage theft violations occurring at America's favorite coffee house, Starbucks. The company operates over 7,000 stores nationwide, and its policy has long been to allow shift supervisors to take a share of the tip pool. Shift supervisors occupy a unique "neither/nor" zone at Starbucks - they functionally do much the same work as baristas and receive comparable pay, yet they also act in a managerial capacity.
In the wake of an eight-figure judgment against Starbucks chains in California, Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP attorney Maimon Kirschenbaum has spearheaded a drive to sue New York affiliated Starbucks for wage violations related to this tip sharing issue. While Howard Schultz, Starbucks' Chairman, has defended his company's labor practices, the National Labor Relations Board and other employment discrimination authorities have alleged that the coffee giant has pursued less than equitable labor policies. For instance, some NY workers who attempted to unionize baristas were fired for doing so - illegally. Kirschenbaum argues that the status of shift supervisors - as essentially glorified baristas - doesn't change the fact that wage violations have occurred and should be remedied. He concludes that baristas should not have to "bear the brunt of" inequalities created by Starbucks' oddball tip-sharing system.
Jay-Z's Club Faces Pay Rap
According to this New Daily News article dated July 2, 2008, JHLLP partner Maimon Kirschenbaum may soon be doing battle with hip-hop Superstar Jay-Z. The rap legend is being accused of allowing egregious practices to go down at his 40/40 club in Chelsea. The class-action lawsuit against Jay-Z's club involves literally hundreds of plaintiffs who worked at the restaurant/club over the past several years. Plaintiffs allege wage theft, violations of labor laws and other abuse. In some instances, when customers would leave without paying their checks, wait staff would be ordered to cover bills with their own money. Twenty 40/40 employees contend that they were forced to work only for tips - that they got no wage pay at all - and that they had to pay to go on break and did not receive adequate overtime pay. Judge Loretta Preska was quoted in the article as sympathetic to the plaintiffs' case.