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Off-the-Clock Work Allegations Made against Well-Known Establishments

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New York, NYA well-known national restaurant chain and an individual establishment co-owned by a television personality are facing unpaid wages claims and off-the-clock work allegations.

On the TV side, Teresa Aprea - the star of the TV series The Real Housewives of New Jersey - also has an ownership stake in Angelo’s of Mulberry Street Inc. According to court documents, a former waiter and a bartender at one time employed by the iconic restaurant have made accusations of off-the-clock work and unpaid wages, in addition to the improper tracking of hours worked, or so it is alleged. Maintenance expenses for uniforms have also gone unpaid, or so it is alleged. The plaintiffs suggest the issues are violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Angelo’s is a well-known bistro located in the Little Italy area of Manhattan and has been frequented by the noted and notable for 100 years, according to the complaint. The lawsuit states that the restaurant “proudly boasts” of having served celebrities such as George Clooney, the Rolling Stones, Merv Griffin, Kobe Bryant and former President Ronald Reagan.

“However, despite Angelo’s fanfare, its employees receive far less than ‘star treatment,’” the complaint said.
“In fact, Angelo’s has and continues to subject its service employees, including plaintiffs, to numerous unlawful wage practices, which has resulted in the theft of substantial pay throughout the years.”

Amongst the allegations are that employees were not paid for 30-minute intervals that occurred prior to and following the scheduled start and end of shifts. The Unpaid Wages lawsuit is Hajjar et al. v. Angelo’s of Mulberry Street Inc. et al., case number 1:15-cv-01082, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Meanwhile, a federal judge in New York granted conditional certification last month for a proposed class-action lawsuit representing as many as 42,000 current and former employees of TGI Friday’s. According to the unpaid wages claim, two class actions were filed last year: one by employees of TGI Friday’s in Massachusetts, and another by no fewer than 17,700 employees in the New York metro area and Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Both unpaid wages lawsuits claim workers were required to arrive well ahead of business hours and continue working after close without getting minimum wage and/or overtime pay. They also accused the chain of using a centralized time-keeping system that succeeded in shaving work hours from their records and mandated them to work off the clock doing non-tipped tasks such as cleaning and preparing food in bulk. In Massachusetts, workers who put in more than 40 hours a week, the threshold for receiving time and a half in overtime pay, allege they worked additional hours off the clock.

There are various scenarios driving plaintiffs to their unpaid wages attorney: rates of pay in combination with work hours that result in an effective rate of pay falling below minimum wage, overtime hours that go unpaid, or failure to pay for time it takes to don and then doff specialized gear necessary to the job. A donning and doffing lawsuit often results.

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