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Workers Join Suit Over Restaurateur's Labor Practices

Emily Laermer

About a month after four employees at Eric Goode's B Bar and Grill filed a lawsuit against the New York restaurateur, two more employees who had worked at three of his other restaurants have signed on as well.  There are no new violations being filed against the additional restaurants, said Rachel Bien of Outten & Golden, who is representing the plaintiffs.  The two new employees on the lawsuit, who have worked at Matsuri, La Bottega, Gemma and B Bar and Grill, are accusing Mr. Goode and co-owner Sean MacPherson of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York labor laws by failing to pay accurate minimum and overtime wages, so-called spread-of-hours pay, and uniform-related expenses. Spread-of-hours pay refers to the one additional hour at minimum wage that an employer is required to pay employees if they work a total of hours greater than 10 in one day.

This suit is seeking payments for the hundreds of employees who have worked at Matsuri, La Bottega, and B Bar and Grill since 2004, and all current and former employees who have worked at Gemma, which opened in 2007 inside the Bowery Hotel.

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Edison Jachero worked as an hourly service worker, dishwasher and salad maker at Matsuri, La Bottega and Gemma between Nov. 2003 and June 2009. Adrian Gomez was a bus person and runner at La Bottega and B Bar and Grill between 2003 and 2007.

“It seems as though they have a uniform policy throughout their restaurants, regarding paying overtime, spread-of-hours pay and uniform expenses,” Ms. Bien said. “I haven't encountered a [Goode or MacPherson] restaurant yet where these policies were not in place.”

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The initial lawsuit, which was filed on Jan. 12 by four current and former employees at B Bar and Grill, was against Mr. Goode, the sole owner of the restaurant. Mr. Goode denied all allegations from the initial lawsuit in a legal filing Tuesday.

Mr. Goode and Mr. MacPherson also co-own Waverly Inn, the Bowery Hotel and the Lafayette House Hotel.