Restaurant Associates Waiters File Class Action Lawsuit Over Service Charge
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Restaurant Associates Waiters File Class Action Lawsuit Over Service Charge

By Kimberly Mirando


Restaurant Associates(LEGAFI) -- A class action lawsuit has been filed against Restaurant Associates, one of the largest special events catering companies in the U.S., for illegally denying tips and other gratuities to waiters and busboys.
The Restaurant Associates class action lawsuit alleges the catering company violates New York labor laws by applying a 15% to 20% "service charge" to all customers' bills without disclosing to customers that the service charge is not a gratuity or tip. The class action lawsuits suggests that most customers expect that part or all of the service charge will go to the waiters and other servicing staff, so they do not pay the staff gratuities.
The employment lawsuit alleges that the service charge is in fact a "tip" or "gratuity" and should be paid to the wait staff. The complaint also points out that employees are forbidden from accepting gifts and could be terminated for discussing a gratuity with a customer.
The Restaurant Associates class action lawsuit is seeking $5 million in damages for over 100 employees of the catering company. The complaint notes that Restaurant Associates is part of the Compass Group, which in 2009 earned over $20 billion is was listed as the world's 13th largest employer by Fortune magazine.


Updated August 15th, 2011

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