Tag Archives: hospitality labor law

Federal Court Denies Certification Of Wage-Hour Class Action Against Joe’s Crab Shack Restaurants

By:  Kara M. Maciel

The United States District Court for the Northern District of California has denied certification of a class action against Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants on claims that employees worked off-the-clock, were denied meal and rest breaks, and were required to purchase t-shirts to wear at work.  Because the case was handled by our EpsteinBeckerGreen colleagues Michael Kun and Aaron Olsen, we do not believe it is appropriate to comment on the decision or its implications.  If you would like to read the decision, a copy may be found here.

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Abrupt Changes for New York’s Restaurants and Hotels: Minimum Wage, Tip Pooling, and Recordkeeping Requirements

By:  Amy Traub

Following up on our previous blog posting from November 2, 2010, on December 16, 2010, the New York State Department of Labor issued a new minimum wage order (the “Order”) which will bring immediate changes to the restaurant and hotel industries. Under the Order, employees will be due a higher minimum wage and subject to new tip pooling rules. Meanwhile, employers will need to comply with more stringent recordkeeping requirements. Although employers have until February 28, 2011, to adjust their payrolls, they will still owe their employees back pay as of January 1, 2011. Important highlights include:

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Now is the Time to Review Your No-Solicitation Rules: The NLRB Is Considering Expanding Union Rights to Organize on Employer Premises

By:     Michael Casey, Peter Panken, and Steven Swirsky

The new Obama National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” or the “Board”) has signaled that it will likely be granting union organizers the right to enter employers’ premises to conduct union organizing activity. This would reverse a trend in the last few years of preserving an employer’s property rights, and of confining union organizers to areas outside of an employer’s private premises, including those areas open to the public, in hotels, restaurants, clubs and other hospitality venues where non-employees are allowed access.

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U.S. Department of Labor to Refer Employees to Plaintiffs’ Lawyers

by Michael Kun and Doug Weiner

It is no secret that employers have been beseiged by wage-hour litigation, including wage-hour class actions and collective actions. These lawsuits have hit the hospitality industry as hard as any other industry, perhaps harder.

It is also no secret that the persons who benefit most from these actions are often plaintiffs’ counsel, who frequently receive one-third or more of any recovery.

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Bay Area Restaurant Chain Owners Face Criminal Charges for Employing Illegal Aliens

By:  Robert S. Groban, Jr.

On December 6, 2010, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco announced that the owners of the El Balazo restaurant chain in the Bay Area had been charged in a 20-count criminal Information with tax fraud and harboring illegal aliens.  These charges arise out of a raid made by federal agents in May 2008 that resulted in the arrest of 64 illegal aliens at several of these restaurants.  The Information charges the owners with conspiracy to commit tax evasion, tax evasion, harboring illegal aliens for financial gain, and submitting false Social Security numbers for undocumented workers at the restaurants.  The defendants were arraigned on December 6, 2010 and each remain free on $100,000 bond.

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Hospitality Immigration Alert

By:  Robert S. Groban, Jr.

Missouri Man Convicted in Scheme to Place Undocumented Workers in Hotels

On October 28, 2010, a Missouri man was convicted by the U.S. District Court in Missouri for his role in a racketeering scheme that involved placing undocumented workers at hotels in 14 states, including several hotels in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. United States v. Dougherty, No. 4:09-CR-00143 (W.D. Mo. Oct. 10, 2010). Beth Phillips, the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, indicated that “Mr. Kristin Dougherty was found guilty of racketeering, participating in a Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (‘RICO’) conspiracy and wire fraud.  He faces a possible sentence of up to 60 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $75,000.”

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Hotel Housekeepers File OSHA Complaints Nationwide

By:  Jay P. Krupin and Kara M. Maciel

Last week, on November 9, 2010, housekeepers employed by Hyatt Hotels filed complaints with OSHA alleging injuries sustained on the job. The complaints were filed in eight cities across the country, including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Beach, San Antonio, Honolulu and Indianapolis.  Similar OSHA actions may occur in Boston, NYC, DC, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Miami, and Orlando with higher concentrations of hotel properties. This is the first time that employees of a single private employer have filed multi-city OSHA complaints, and it appears to be a coordinated effort with organized labor, UNITE HERE.

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