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New York Employment Law Blog

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wahlburgers in Coney Island Faces Wage Theft Allegations

What are my rights if my employer does not pay me for my time worked?

Brooklyn restaurant Wahlburgers, subject of the popular A&E reality show, is facing a lawsuit from five former employees who claim the restaurant routinely denied their wages.  The Wahlburgers chain launched in 2011 outside of Boston.  Just last year, the chain expanded to include a Coney Island store.  Since its opening, however, employees allege that the restaurant has broken numerous federal and state labor laws and withheld wages from hundreds of employees. 

Former employees have filed a lawsuit in Brooklyn federal court.  The suit includes allegations that the restaurant:

  • Did not pay employees for all of their hours worked;
  • Failed to pay overtime; and
  • Withheld tips.

The employees are seeking class action status and demanding back wages, along with money damages.  Thus far, Wahlburgers has responded that they are investigating the matter and hoping to bring it to a swift resolution.

Know Your Rights as a New York Employee

The Wahlburgers case is just one example of a rampant problem in New York City—employees are being denied their rightful wages. New York and federal laws provide employees with a wide range of employment rights and privileges, including the following:

  1. Minimum wage:  Employees in New York must generally receive at least $9.00 an hour.
  2. Overtime:  Non-exempt hourly employees that work over 40 hours a week must be paid time and one-half for their additional time worked.  New overtime laws taking effect in December will give overtime rights to millions of workers that are currently considered exempt.
  3. Meal breaks:  New York employees are entitled to receive a meal break if they work a certain number of hours.
  4. Tips:  In the restaurant industry, many employees do not receive minimum wage because tips constitute a bulk of their earnings.  Several laws are in place preventing tip theft and in New York tips cannot be seized by restaurant owners or shared with non-tipped staff.

If you believe your employer is not compensating you for hours worked, withholding tips, or engaging in other illegal employment practices, contact the New York employment law attorneys at Yale Pollack, P.C. by calling (516) 262-5028.


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