Many servers, including waiters and bartenders, earn a very low hourly wage and they depend on the tips they receive from patrons to earn a living. Some employers though, illegally withhold gratuity from their employees’ pay. This is allegedly the case with Mallozzi Group, the Rotterdam-based restaurant and catering empire.
The Mallozzi family first entered the food industry in 1965 when they opened the Villa Italia bakery in Schenectady. They then began opening restaurants and catering operations all over the area until they expanded into an empire.
A former server for the Mallozzi Group has filed a 12-page class-action complaint against the company in Albany County Supreme Court. The lead plaintiff, Ryan Picard, worked as a server for Mallozzi Group for most of 2011 and all of 2012. He alleges that a mandatory 20% “service personnel charge” was added onto customers’ bills, but that money was never distributed to him or the other servers. Allegedly, the servers were paid a flat hourly rate and were instructed by Mallozzi Group that, when a customer asked if they received tips, they were to reply that they did.
The lawsuit focuses on the fact that the restaurant and catering chain did not make it reasonably clear to customers that the extra charge was not a gratuity. Had Mallozzi Group done so, the servers would have no claim upon the money.
The lawsuit is seeking to represent everyone who worked as a server for Mallozzi Group in the past six years. Picard and his attorneys believe that the damages could exceed $1 million, plus interest, costs, and attorneys’ fees. Nine defendants were named in the suit, including co-owners John and Joseph Mallozzi.
The complaint cites New York Labor Law which states that “A charge purported to be a gratuity must be distributed in full as gratuities to the service employees or food service workers who provided the service.
Bobby Mallozzi, one of the owners of the restaurant chain, insists that the company has not done anything wrong. He maintains that “Mallozzi’s and all of our companies adhere to all of the New York Labor Law and its guidelines in its utmost strictness”. He dismisses Picard’s claims as the “wrongful accusations” of a disgruntled employee. He also says that “this lawsuit has absolutely no merit, and we will vigorously fight it.”
The Illinois overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against restaurants, and hotels for forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our Illinois overtime attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Naperville and Willowbrook. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Lemont and River Forest overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.