Given his tendency for shouting, swearing, and throwing things around on his television shows, Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, it probably comes as no surprise that the celebrity chef with a temper, Gordon Ramsay, is facing a lawsuit. It is not however, for his behavior. Rather, the class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of all current and former hourly employees of his new restaurant, Fat Cow, located in Los Angeles’s Grove outdoor shopping center.
Jennifer Becerra, Montinique Dever, Andrea Bourke, and Lauren Benge filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges that employees were required to work through meal and rest periods without the requisite compensation. According to California law, employers are required to provide employees with at least a 30 minute uninterrupted meal break for every five hours that the employee works and at least a 10 minute uninterrupted rest break for every four hours worked. For each day that a break is missed, the employer is required to provide the employee with one hour’s worth of the employee’s normal wages. This allegedly was not done for the employees of Fat Cow who missed their breaks.
The lawsuit also alleges that the employees were not paid minimum wage for all of the hours that they worked, nor were they given the proper overtime compensation for all hours that they worked in excess of eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are required to provide eligible hourly employees with one and one-half times their normal hourly wages for each hour of overtime that they work.
The lawsuit further alleges that the restaurant failed to furnish employees with wages in a timely manner after their employment at the restaurant ended. The restaurant is also accused of failing to maintain and provide proper records of all of the hours that the employees worked and all of the wages that they earned. Proper documentation of all hours worked and wages earned is extremely important for the records of the employee, as well as the employer. Failure to provide these can result in some courts determining that the company knowingly and intentionally violated the Fair Labor Standards Act. Such a determination can result in punitive damages with damages being doubled.
The lawsuit also alleges that employees were not allowed to keep the tips that they earned.
In addition to being unfair to the employees, all of this alleged behavior constitutes unfair business practices. This is because, if true, they resulted in Fat Cow gaining an unfair economic advantage over competitors who pay their employees the proper compensation according to the law.
The Class is defined as all current and former hourly employees who worked at the restaurant between October 2012 and March 2013. Most of them worked as servers or baristas. The lawsuit is asking for a jury trial in which the class will seek “an award of economic damages”.
Unlike most companies, which simply deny all allegations and swear to a vigorous battle in the courts, Ramsay’s team has stepped up to the plate. A spokesperson for Ramsay said, “We are aware there was a problem with previous management which has since been changed, but this is totally unacceptable if any truth to it.”
The Chicago class action 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 Chicago class action 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 attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Wheeling and Buffalo Grove. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Naperville and Chicago Hts. 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.