Restaurant Pay Lawsuits

There are over 38,000 restaurants in New York State, and sizable portions of them are probably committing some violation of the wage and hour laws every day.  Pechman Law Group has represented hundreds of restaurant workers, as well as numerous restaurants, in these wage theft and pay disputes.

The New York Labor Law prohibits employers from sharing in employee’s tips.  An employer or his agent may not demand or accept, directly or indirectly, any tip left for an employee. This is a frequent issue in restaurant wage theft cases.  Another frequent issue arises when kitchen staff are paid on a salary.  Restaurants in New York may not pay servers or kitchen staff on a daily, weekly, salary, or piece rate basis. The New York Hospitality Wage Order provides that restaurant workers must be paid on an hourly basis.  If a restaurant worker works more than 40 hours in a week, that worker must receive time and one half his hourly rate for hours worked over 40 in that week.

Pechman  Law Group has recovered over thirty million dollars in back wages and damages for restaurant workers, including a $3.15 million settlement with Sparks Steakhouse, the largest single restaurant settlement in the United States.  The firm was also lead attorney for the employees in the $8.5 million settlement involving eleven Chickie’s & Pete’s restaurants in the Philadelphia area. The firm has handled over 200 restaurant wage cases in federal courts across the United States, including cases against Nusret, Cheesecake Factory, Serendipity, and Frank Restaurant.

As noted in a recent  Wall Street Journal article, Pechman Law Group  has established itself as the “go to”  law firm in restaurant pay litigation. Lou Pechman is a former Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Restaurant and Hospitality Law and is the founder of Waiterpay.com, a website that promotes awareness about the wage and hour laws in New York.





Frequently Asked Questions

The New York Labor Law prohibits employers from sharing in employee’s tips. An employer on its agent may not demand or accept, directly, or indirectly, any tip left for an employee
Spread of hours is the length of the interval between the beginning and end of an employee’s workday. The spread of hours for any day includes working time plus time off for meals plus intervals off duty. Examples of a spread of hours greater than 10 are: 7 a.m. – 10 a.m., 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. = 6 hours worked but a 15-hour spread; 11:30 a.m. – 3 p.m., 4 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. = 9½ hours worked but a 10½ hour spread. On each day on which the spread of hours exceeds 10, an employee shall receive one additional hour of pay at the basic minimum hourly rate. This law applies to all employees in restaurants, regardless of an employee’s regular rate of pay
Restaurant Employees must be paid hourly rates of pay. Employers may not pay employees on a daily, weekly, salary, piece rate, or another nonhourly rate basis.

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