Downtown Eatery Accused of Mistreating Workers – Three Current Employees and One Former Staffer Say B Bar and Grill Failed to Pay Proper Wages and Overtime

Crain's New York Business - Emily Laermer
January 13, 2010

Not everything is Goode ” at one trendy restaurant downtown. Eric Goode’s B Bar and Grill, a New York University student favorite known for its large outdoor patio, has been accused of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Laws. Several employees filed suit against the eatery at 40 E. 4th St. for failing to pay its workers accurate minimum wages, overtime and uniform-maintenance fees and, said Rachel Bien, an Outten & Golden attorney who is representing the plaintiffs. The suit seeks to recover allegedly lost pay for all of the restaurant’s employees who worked there since 2004.

New York labor laws state that if a restaurant takes a cut of workers’ tips, employees should be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, rather than the tip-minimum wage, which can be as low as $4.65, according to state minimum wage laws. The restaurant has also been accused of violating the spread-of-hours pay, ” which, according to the New York state Department of Labor, states that when employees work more than 10 hours in one day, they should be paid double for each hour after the tenth.

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Although only four current and former employees are suing the bar and grill, Outten & Golden attorneys suspect hundred of individuals were affected by the violations. The lawsuit covers anybody who was employed at B Bar and Grille since 2004, when the violations addressed in the lawsuit were added to the New York labor laws. The three current employees, Luis Campos, Arnoldo Molina and Gonzalo Vidanos, are cooks at the restaurant. The former employee, Jose Garcia, was a busser before leaving in August.

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Last month, Outten & Golden represented workers who filed similar claims against various Cipriani restaurants in the city, as well. Also in December, 17 eateries in Ithaca, N.Y. were also found to be in violation of New York state labor laws. In addition to B Bar and Grille, Mr. Goode co-owns and operates several prominent restaurants and bars in New York, including Park, Waverly Inn, the Lobby Bar at the Jane Hotel and Matsuri at the Maritime Hotel. Matsuri has also been accused of similar violations.