The owner of Sidetrack Bar & Grill in Ypsilanti is under fire in a lawsuit alleging he violated state and federal laws by forcing employees to exchange tips.
A lawsuit was recently filed against the owner of a popular Ypsilanti restaurant, Sidetrack Bar & Grill, on allegations that employees were forced to work around the clock, were denied overtime and their tips were unlawfully pooled. The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Detroit last week on behalf of two former employees. The suit is said to “represent a class of servers and bartenders who worked in the restaurant”.
Hamburger; Image courtesy of Free-Photos via Pixabay, www.pixabay.com
According to the lawsuit, Linda French, the restaurant owner, violated state and federal labor laws by demanding that “tipped employees must return a portion of their tips so that they can be passed on to employees who did not work for tips, including hosts and dishwashers. “In addition, the lawsuit alleges that the” restaurant also required them to work 24/7 before and after their shift, “and further alleges:
- Managers were instructed to change the time records to shut down employees at 2 a.m. even if they were still working. They also had to “log into the timekeeping system and clock employees out early if they were expected to work significant overtime during the week.”
- Tipped staff had to pay for customers who left with no bills paid, lack of drawers, and when items were not called properly.
- Employees who received tips had to spend more than 20% of their time working without tips.
David Blanchard is representing the plaintiffs. Commenting on the matter, he said:
“We have multiple confirmations of wage practices here and the wage theft that went on here … There is no reason to believe that any of the tipped workers there is any different.”
The lawsuit also argues that in light of the violations, the restaurant “was not entitled to use the tip credit provisions of federal and state law so that an employer could pay below the minimum wage”. Because of this, Blanchard said workers “should have been given a minimum wage.” He added:
“You obey the law and you don’t steal people’s money and we have no problem … But if you can’t obey the law for a tip credit, the standard is that everyone in this country gets a minimum wage.”
Blanchard also noted that up to 100 workers or more can join the lawsuit. He said, “The type of allegation we are talking about was consistent and was consistently applied to all tipped employees.”
The Sidetrack Bar & Grill is located in the historic part of Ypsilanti and is known for its handcrafted hamburgers. French is currently retiring and plans to transfer ownership of the company to her daughter.
Lawsuit: The Ypsilanti restaurant made employees work around the clock and incorrectly summarize tips
The lawsuit alleges that Ypsilantis Sidetrack Bar wrongly paid employees and violated wage laws