Tipping Lawsuit Against Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern

Recently we wrote about the new trend among US restaurants – largely spearheaded by Danny Meyer himself – toward the more European style of removing tipping altogether and increasing wages across the board (paid for by corresponding price increases). Now a new lawsuit has emerged against Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group by two former employees, who allege minimum wage and tipping violations by Gramercy Tavern during their time their.

The two plaintiffs claim that they were paid the tipped minimum wage (currently $5/hour in New York) when they should have received the full minimum of $8.75 because their tips were pooled and shared with non-service employees. The suit also claim that Gramercy unlawfully withheld all or part of a 20% service charge from special events. They are seeking class action status to recoup the lost tips for all service employees, which likely brings the number to over 100.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for Meyers said that “Union Square Hospitality Group has systems in place to comply with all employment regulations. We have always cared deeply about cultivating a strong employee-first culture, and we will review this matter thoroughly.” By 2016, when all USHG restaurants move to a non-tipping system, they will effectively remove the possibility of these types of lawsuits.

To read more, click here.

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