Three former Sherwood Diner servers have filed a proposed class and collective action against the restaurant over allegedly unpaid wages and unlawful tip deductions.
The lawsuit—which was filed against the Lawrence, New York eatery’s operating company, Salron Diner Associates, Inc., and three individual owners—claims the defendants regularly failed to pay the servers for several hours of work each week, causing their effective pay rates to fall below the required minimum wage for each hour worked.
Further, the plaintiffs accuse their former employers of illegally retaining a portion of tips left by customers who paid with credit cards. The defendants often threw away credit card receipts or lowballed workers on the number of tables they served in a day to keep servers in the dark regarding the amount of tips left by customers, the case charges. One plaintiff, the complaint says, apparently went so far as to dig through the garbage to discover proof of a sizeable tip left by a regular customer:
“On one occasion, a frequent patron informed [the plaintiff] that they had left her a thirty-dollar ($30.00) tip on their credit card. [The plaintiff] went to the register area to confirm and was told by [an individual defendant] that the patron had only left a ten-dollar ($10.00) tip on the card. [The plaintiff] searched the garbage receptacle and found the receipt in question crumpled up and confirmed the thirty-dollar ($30.00) tip, which she brought to [the defendant’s] attention and he responded ‘go away you (expletive) idiot.’”
Adding to the case’s allegations of unlawful wage deductions, the plaintiffs claim that one hour of pay was deducted from each day’s wages for a meal break that they were unable to take. One plaintiff further claims she was not paid at all for her first three days of work when she was being trained.
All told, the complaint alleges that the former employees were deprived of time-and-a-half overtime, spread-of-hours pay, proper wage notices upon being hired, and accurate wage statements throughout their respective employment periods.