Life Is Not Exactly Nirvana for Buddha Bar EmployeesAccording to legal papers filed last week, meatpacking district restaurant-lounge Buddha Bar hasn’t exactly been following the Noble Eightfold Path when it comes to its pay policies. A server, bartender, busboy, and six other employees have filed a class-action lawsuit accusing owner David Kay, CEO Nina Zajic, and GM Peter Jastimi of numerous stingy practices: withholding portions of their tips, redistributing tips to employees who weren’t entitled to them, failing to pay minimum wage, withholding a portion of “service charges” that diners assumed were paid to waiters, and forcing employees to pay for walkouts, uniforms, and credit-card fees. By the looks of these papers, it looks like the restaurant’s giant Buddha is the only thing sitting pretty.
Reyes, Goins, and Peralta v. Buddha Bar
Saigon Grill Deliverymen Get Their Jobs Back, With a RaiseIt looks like you won’t see Saigon Grill deliverymen picketing on the sidewalk anymore — according to the Times, a judge has finally ruled that 28 deliverymen who were illegally fired for organizing a labor lawsuit can go back to work at the minimum wage of $4.85 an hour, rather than the $1.60 per hour some workers were apparently paid during 75-hour work weeks. Saigon Grill plans to appeal, though you’d think this snowy, slushy day — if nothing else — would force them to admit they might not be paying their deliverymen enough.
Related: Restaurants Must Rehire Deliverymen, Judge Rules [NYT]
The Deliveryman’s Uprising [NYM]
Park Avenue Café Waiter Says He Was Discriminated Against for NotA little over a week ago, we broke the news that Park Avenue Café (currently Park Avenue Winter) is being sued by employees who claim they were forced to participate in illegal tip-pooling and discriminated against because they were South Asian. The Sun now reports that a court has allowed former employee Mohammed Rahman to bring a suit on behalf of nonwhite employees at Park Avenue Café, but stopped short of allowing a class-action suit against parent chain Smith & Wollensky. One of the reasons Rahman claims he was given a hard time, and eventually fired, is that he didn’t drink alcohol and so couldn’t taste wine — which has to be the first time someone has been canned for not drinking on the job.
Related: Park Avenue Winter Experiences Legal Discontent
Park Avenue Winter Experiences Legal DiscontentUh-oh.The Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group is in legal trouble again, this time thanks to a lawsuit filed against Park Avenue Café. The class-action suit filed by two captains and a waiter claims the restaurant — currently known as Park Avenue Winter — violated wage laws by forcing them to pool their tips with non-tipped employees like dishwashers, expediters, and coffee makers. Attorney Maimon Kirschenbaum tells us that the plaintiffs are expected to be joined by others in the next few days and will soon bring a separate complaint accusing assistant manager Santiago Pasentez of discriminating against the restaurant’s Bengali and Bangladeshi employees.