Three companies that collectively own and operate Sushi Seki Restaurants in New York City have been named as defendants in a proposed class action seeking to recover allegedly unpaid wages for tipped employees.
The lawsuit out of New York federal court alleges that the defendants improperly paid the plaintiff, a former server at Sushi Seki Times Square, a “tipped” minimum wage rate despite requiring him to perform non-tipped duties for more than 20 percent of his workday. Furthermore, the plaintiff claims he did not receive proper notice of the tipped minimum wage rate from the defendants upon being hired. As such, the suit argues that the defendants were not entitled to apply a tip credit to the plaintiff’s wages, as he was legally entitled to the full minimum wage rate.
The case further alleges that the tips received by the plaintiff and similarly situated individuals were unlawfully misappropriated and dispersed among non-tipped employees. From the complaint:
“Defendants misappropriated gratuities from Plaintiff and other Tipped Employees by requiring them to engage in a tip distribution scheme where tips were shared with employees in positions that are not entitled to tips under the FLSA and/or NYLL, including, but not limited to, sushi chefs and sushi chef helpers (together, “Sushi Chefs”), Service & Beverage Director(s) and/or sommeliers (together, “Service & Beverage Directors”), and expeditors.”
The lawsuit seeks to recover allegedly unpaid minimum and overtime wages, as well as compensation for additional damages pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law.