Italian chain of shops settles lawsuit for honest labor requirements

Eataly handles class action lawsuits for FLSA violations.

Eataly, a New York-based Italian chain store, has settled a class action lawsuit with employees and agreed to pay $ 1,887,500 to resolve allegations of violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act at its Flatiron and Financial District locations . The lawsuit was originally filed on November 29, 2017 against the defendants Eataly America, Inc., Eataly USA LLC, Eataly NY LLC, Eataly NY FIDI LLC, Nicola Farinetti, CEO of Eataly USA, and Adam Saper, CFO of Eataly USA. All employees who worked in the two branches between November 29, 2011 and November 4, 2020 are entitled to payment.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs alleged, “Eataly has violated New York Labor Law and Fair Labor Law by failing to pay wages for all hours worked due to a time-saving policy, by failing to display adequate wages and hours, and” this did not provide adequate pay slips. “Plaintiffs also alleged that regulators routinely directed them to perform unpaid work after business hours.

In 2018, the Italian market lawsuit was certified as a class action and District Judge Katherine B. Forrest wrote: “Plaintiffs have demonstrated sufficient evidence that certain supervisors and / or managers at Eataly have violated the relevant laws by using a“ time shave ”. and other actions have dealt with illegal practices. “

Photo by Jorge Zapata on Unsplash

Former employees announced that Eataly had switched to an “administration fee system” for expensive acquisitions of event space in restaurants, which resulted in servers receiving less than they would at large events and parties.

“You make money on top of money, then you save work, and it doesn’t just matter that you come in and it’s a simple party,” said one plaintiff. Another added, “They would especially get the waiters and people to do a lot more of this – which again is not part of their job – clearing out an entire restaurant with furniture, taking it up on the roof in rain and snow and then has to bring it in again. “

In early 2020, Eataly also introduced a paycheck protection program loan to help re-hire employees at lower wages. In an email from Executive Vice President of North America, Raffaele Piarulli, it was advised that employees may choose to join the program or “instead may permanently step down from their position.” Many felt they had no choice but to accept a lower rate, especially during the pandemic.

Italian chain store employees also reported incidents where they were written for circumstances beyond their control. One plaintiff reported chronic back pain. When this flared up during a New Year’s shift and he could no longer work, he was written to. He pretended to be a doctor’s letter as instructed, but received a final warning that if the condition continued to affect his position, he would be fired.

A company spokeswoman, Lisa Serbaniewicz, said the defendants “deny all material allegations” and “deny any wrongdoing of any kind and without admitting liability.” She adds, “Although we claim that all employees have been paid for all hours worked, we decided to prioritize a solution and consequently have settled this issue.”

On the incident with back pain, she added, “According to the disciplinary action form, on a day that management was not receiving shift coverage, the person was able to alert employees that missions would not be accepted.”

With this style of management, it’s troubling to think about how a positive coronavirus test might be treated.


Eataly pays nearly $ 2 million to settle a labor dispute


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