If you’ve got the bucks, you can get celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s food at your private event. The Wolfgang Puck Catering & Events company bears a famous name, and now it’s being blamed for adding services charges to its customers’ bills without then handing over gratuities to its servers.
In the class action filed in Manhattan Supreme Court yesterday, some staffers claim that despite billing some venues a 22 % service charge, bartenders and servers never saw that tip money, reports the New York Post.
The attorney for two of the named plaintiffs says the company owes all employees who worked private events hundreds of thousands in gratuities, going back to 2008.
Those two, a waitress and a bartender, say they were paid between $10 and $18 per hour for events, and didn’t get money for up to 30 hours overtime, allege the court papers.
“Any charge for ‘service’ or ‘food service,’ is a charge purported to be a gratuity and therefore must be paid over to service employees,” the lawsuit says, claiming that billing customers for a “service charge ” and then not passing that money along to servers violates state and federal law.
One of the plaintiffs says she asked a promoter working with Wolfgang Puck about unpaid tips, and was allegedly later told by a supervisor that “if she inquired any further about Defendants’ violations of the labor laws she would be fired.”
Instead, she and the other plaintiff left the company in 2012 after working there for two to three years.
Wolfgang Puck catering firm slammed for skimming tips: suit [New York Post]