The man was allegedly not paid overtime wages for years
Roberta's Pizza is being sued by a worker for allegedly not paying him overtime charges.
Roberta’s Pizza is a Brooklyn pizzeria legend (after all, they made the top five in our list of the 101 Best Pizzas). But now they’ve found themselves involved in another legal dispute — this time over alleged unpaid overtime wages.
Ruffino Cano, who has been working at Roberta’s since 2009, is suing the Bushwick pizzeria, claiming that the restaurant’s owners have not paid him overtime wages to clean, wash dishes, and make pizzas past his regular hours, according to the New York Daily News.
The lawsuit was filed in Brooklyn Federal Court and states that “For [Cano’s] work, despite working over 40 hours per week, he is paid at straight-time rates for all hours worked including hours over 40,” and “When plaintiff complained to his supervisors… he was told that he is not entitled to overtime because he works 'off the books.'”
New York federal law states that employees who work over 40 hours a week must be compensated at least time-and-a-half for all hours worked outside of the regular workweek, according to the Department of Labor.
We have reached out to Roberta’s for comment and have not heard back yet.
Roberta's Sued For Wage Theft By Employee
Just a few weeks after Per Se settled a wage theft investigation, another notable NYC restaurant is thrown into the fire for a similar accusation. Bushwick hotspot Roberta's has been accused of wage theft by a kitchen worker who says he was denied proper compensation for overtime, reports the Daily News. It's probably safe to assume he never saw a dime from those leather tank sales either.
The employee, Ruffino Cano, claims that he was paid his regular hourly salary for time worked outside of the 40 hours per week, where federal law states that eligible employees need to be compensated at least time and a half for all hours worked outside of the regular workweek. During his shifts, Cano cleans up, does dishes and even "makes the dough" for the pizzas, according to his attorney. Cano has since filed a lawsuit against the Clinton-approved pizzeria to regain the lost wages.
"We think a large number of employees were paid off the books until 2013," Cano's attorney Brent Pelton told the Daily News. "When plaintiff complained to his supervisors. he was told that he is not entitled to overtime because he works 'off the books,'" according to the suit. We reached out to Roberta's for comment and we'll update when we hear back.
Unfortunately, Roberta's has a history of funny stuff when it comes to paying employees. An ad seeking unpaid interns was roundly criticized 2013, though the restaurant stood firm on its stance that these individuals were learning valuable farming experience in exchange for their free labor. The restaurant has also been embroiled in a legal battle amongst its owners over shared profits from the millions raked in from Bee Sting pizzas and delicious breads.
Ex-chauffeur sues Donald Trump for 3,000 hours of unpaid overtime
US President Donald Trump’s ex personal chauffeur on Monday sued the Trump Organization for years of unpaid overtime, claiming he was exploited and denied a meaningful raise in more than a decade.
Noel Cintron, who served as driver for Trump, his family and businesses for more than 25 years, was replaced by the Secret Service when his boss won the Republican nomination for president in 2016. He then joined the security staff.
The New York lawsuit, dated Monday, is seeking to recover more than 3,000 hours in overtime, penalties, damages and lawyers’ fees for the “harm” Cintron suffered while on the Trump company payroll.
“In an utterly callous display of unwarranted privilege and entitlement and without even a minimal sense of noblesse oblige President Donald Trump has, through the defendant entities, exploited and denied significant wages to his own longstanding personal driver,” the 14-page lawsuit states.
While Trump is “purportedly a billionaire, he has not given his personal driver a meaningful raise in over 12 years!” it alleged.
Cintron generally worked five days a week from 7:00 am to whenever he was no longer needed, on average 50-55 hours a week, according to the suit.
In December 2010, he was given a $7,000 raise to $75,000 a year, but only after losing his health benefits, saving his employer nearly $18,000 a year in insurance premiums, according to the lawsuit.
He never got another raise, and Trump failed to reimburse him for accrued vacation time and sick days, and work expenses, the complaint says.
Cintron, it says, was not paid overtime for more than 20 years, but under the statute of limitations can only claim six years’ worth, which the lawsuit put at a total of 3,300 hours owed at “time and one-half.”
The Trump Organization, which is being run by the president’s adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric while their father is in office, did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment.
The New York Daily News quoted one of Cintron’s lawyers as saying with back wages, interest and legal fees, his client was owed about $350,000.
Carl’s Jr. to Settle Claims for Overtime
CKE Restaurants Inc.'s Carl’s Jr. agreed to pay $9 million to settle claims that some former and current restaurant managers in California weren’t paid overtime, the company said.
The company will take a $7-million charge, or 10 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2005 to increase its reserves to the settlement amount, Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE said Friday.
CKE was accused in the lawsuit of improperly classifying some restaurant managers as exempt from the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires overtime pay for workers after 40 hours of work per week. CKE will make a cash payment to cover employee claims and legal fees. The settlement is subject to court approval.
“While the company denies all liability in these cases, it has agreed to the settlement in order to resolve all of the plaintiffs’ claims without engaging in expensive, distracting and protracted litigation,” CKE general counsel Robert A. Wilson said.
Threatening phone calls related to a conspiracy theory involving a worldwide child sex ring were made to Roberta's, because the Clintons once ate there. 2016!
Whole Foods Will Open In Williamsburg At The End Of July
All your bougie foodie needs including pastry from Roberta's and a Luke's Lobster Tail Cart.
Is Roberta's Selling Out To A Billionaire?
OG staffers apparently think it's The End.
Leave Work Early To Get The Square Pies At Roberta's Kitchen Takeover
They're doing Detroit-style versions of the Neapolitan pies, like the Bee Sting and Speckenwolf, and they are delicious.
It Appears That Roberta's Owes $480K In Unpaid Taxes
Guess those $700 mesh tanks can't quite sate the Tax Man!
Snack On These 4 Food Events This Week
Eat pig in Bushwick, help out a breast cancer patient, dine like it's 2005 and more this week.
Roberta's Sued For Wage Theft By Employee
The kitchen worker claims he was not paid properly for overtime.
Feast Your Eyes On Some Roberta's Bread & Butter Porn
The pizzeria turns out way more than pies, including breads, pastries, muffins and a dozen other baked goods.
Bushwick's Hot Honey Makers Hustle To Meet "International Demand"
After less than a year in business, two-man team Bees Knees ships its products all over the world.
Roberta's Owners Locked In Dramatic Lawsuit Over Pizzeria
It includes emergency court orders and millions of dollars in pizza and mesh tank profits.
The 18 Best Pizza Places In NYC
This city has the only pizza worth eating. Here's where to get it.
Bees From Roberta's Rooftop Hives Are Allegedly "Escaping & Terrorizing" Neighbors
Let us not overlook the bees, which, according to one dismayed Bushwick denizen, each night take leave of their hive on the Roberta's rooftop to terrorize nearby residents.
Melissa Joan Hart sued for racial profiling
A former employee of Melissa Joan Hart’s Sweet Harts Sweets shop is suing the actress and her business associates, claiming serious racism.
Melissa Joan Hart: racist? That’s what a former employee of the Melissa and Joey actress claims in a lawsuit filed on Thursday in Los Angeles that names Hart and several other business associates as defendants.
In the lawsuit &ndash first obtained by E! News — Shana Kharineh alleges that she was subjected to racial discrimination soon after she was hired as manager of Sweet Harts Sweets in Sherman Oaks, California location in May 2011 for $450 a week.
Kharineh, an African American woman, alleges that she was required to work several hours of overtime without overtime pay or breaks. She also said she was told not to wear black as part of her work uniform because “‘black on black’ did not look appropriate,” according to the document.
The former manager said she was fired in August, but not before her employers “berated and humiliated her” about her personality and relationships with co-workers and laughed that “when she bent over her underwear would show.”
However, Hart’s rep told SheKnows that she’s never met the disgruntled former employee.
“Melissa Joan Hart is the owner of Sweet Harts Sweets in Sherman Oaks, California. While the shop was her vision, Melissa does not currently function in a day-to-day operational capacity, and has never met Shana Kharineh,” Hart’s publicist, Marla Farrell, told SheKnows Friday night. “Sweet Harts Sweets is an equal opportunity employer, as is Melissa Joan Hart. Neither Sweetharts Sweets nor Melissa engages in or condones any form of discrimination whatsoever. There is no basis whatsoever to these vicious allegations.”
Hart was excited to talk about her new yogurt and candy store when it opened in 2009.
“We are so excited about opening our new sweet shop, Sweet Harts in Sherman Oaks,” the 35-year-old told Women’s Day at the time. “It is adorable and has an old world feel. There will be self-serve frozen yogurt, baked cookies, cupcakes, gelato, coffee, and nostalgic candies — something for everyone.”
The store fits in with the wholesome image Hart has created over the years through her roles on shows like Clarissa Explains It All and Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
“I’m the oldest of eight kids and have always behaved myself because of them, I always wanted them to look up to me,” she told Women’s Day. “When I did the Maxim shoot, I was really proud of it because I was doing something grownup. But when my brother told me it was getting thrown in his face at his high school, I decided I wouldn’t do anything more risqué than that. The industry is different now with so many media outlets, but there are a group of us from my generation who want to do the right thing. We all want to have a real life outside of work with a family and kids.”
Kim Kardashian is being sued by seven former workers who say they weren’t paid on time or given meal breaks, and that she refused to pay them overtime.
In the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday and obtained by the Daily Mail, seven members of Kardashian’s gardening and maintenance staff accuse the reality TV star and businesswoman of violations of California labour law.
Kim Kardashian sued by former workers who say they weren’t properly paid or given breaks Back to video
The former staffers worked at the Kardashian’s mansion in the gated community of Hidden Hills, which is estimated to be worth $72.7 million (US $60 million).
Andrew Ramirez his brother, Christopher Ramirez, and son Andrew Ramirez Jr. Aron Cabrea Rene Ernesto Flores Jesse Fernandez and Robert Araiza, say that Kardashian withheld 10 per cent of their wages for taxes, but never handed the amount over to the tax authorities.
Employment law myths surrounding overtime and minimum wage laws
wning and operating a successful bar or nightclub requires compliance with a myriad of employment laws. Failing to comply with these laws can result in an expensive lesson. There are many employment law myths bar and nightclub owners face in the context of overtime and minimum wage laws that can lead to serious consequences if the proper protocols are not put in place.
The federal overtime law applies to employers regardless of the number of employees. Moreover, employees cannot waive their right to overtime—period. In the unlikely event that a service bartender, for example, signs a contract agreeing that he will not be paid overtime, he can still sue for the unpaid overtime. In fact, this is the most common reason why employees sue employers for unpaid overtime or minimum wage violations.
Many business owners—particularly those in the nightlife and hospitality industries—wrongly assume that if an employee works overtime without advance approval, in violation of a written policy, they do not have to pay for that overtime. This is not the case. A supervisor who knows that the employee is working overtime is liable and must pay for that overtime. Disciplining the employee for violating the policy may be in order, but not paying is not an option.
Many nightclub owners do not maintain accurate time records. In the overtime context, it is the employer’s obligation to keep and maintain accurate time records (a work schedule does not constitute an accurate time record).
For nightclubs with multiple facilities, even if under different corporate names, when employees work at different locations in a single work week, you may be required to aggregate the employee’s time worked at both locations in order to ensure that proper overtime is being paid. If the employee works 20 hours at one location and 30 at another in the same workweek, the hours must be combined such that the employee would have worked 10 overtime hours in that week. In this situation, the payroll systems for both locations should be coordinated to ensure proper compliance with the overtime laws.
And the bar should never require an employee, such as a hostess or bartender, to work off the clock or reduce their hours worked to keep labor costs down.
If, for example, a service bartender sues for overtime because of an especially busy or crowded time, and there are no accurate time records, the law allows the employee to merely estimate the number of hours worked. This could be as simple as the employee stating that she worked an average of “X” number of hours per week.
Moreover, if she recovers even one penny in unpaid overtime, the owner more than likely will be required to pay double that amount as a penalty. The overtime law also requires the employer to pay the employee’s reasonable attorney’s fees if the employee wins.
If the employer wins, in most cases,
the costs cannot be recouped.
The federal overtime law is an extremely unforgiving law for employers and is almost entirely skewed in favor of the employee. For example, owners or individuals who have the authority to hire, fire, and set pay rates and/or work schedules can be held liable for unpaid overtime and minimum wages, regardless of whether the restaurant
is an LLC, S corp., etc. Additionally, successor companies are often substituted in after the fact. So closing down the restaurant or bankrupting
it is not an effective solution.
Another problem area is misclassifying employees as exempt from the overtime laws, an issue that is not uncommon among restaurant owners. “Classifying” employees as exempt does not guarantee that the law will see them as such. Paying an employee a salary or giving him or her the “title” of manager does not mean the employee is not entitled to overtime. Being paid a salary simply changes how to calculate the overtime rate.
Likewise, only certain types of jobs are exempt from the overtime requirements. An executive chef or service manager must be paid a minimum salary in order to be exempt however, being paid a salary alone does not make the chef or manager exempt from the overtime law. Exemptions focus on the employee’s actual day-to-day job duties and responsibilities and not the job title. A creative employment attorney can assist in determining whether any of the exemptions can be properly applied to different categories of employees.
Finally, one of the biggest problems for bar and nightclub owners are tip credits and tip pools. First, it is imperative to post the required notices in order to properly take advantage of the tip credit.
Second, if a tip pool, i.e., a mandatory redistribution of tips, is utilized, only those employees who customarily and regularly receive tips (waiters, waitresses, bussers, and service bartenders) may participate in the tip pool. A valid tip pool may not include employees who do not regularly receive tips (dishwashers, cooks, janitors).
Third, the overtime rate for employees paid via a tip credit is calculated on the full minimum wage, not the lower wage payment (i.e., 1.5 times the full minimum wage, minus the tip credit).
Fourth, where tips are charged on a credit card and the restaurant incurs a fee from the credit card company for each sale, it is permissible to deduct that percentage from the employee’s tip so long as this charge on the tip does not reduce the employee’s wage below the required minimum wage. You can also choose to deduct a flat percentage amount equivalent to the average credit card fees from the employees’ tips, rather than the actual percentage charged for a particular sale, so long as the total amount collected reasonably reimburses for no more than the total amounts charged by credit card companies and does not exceed the aggregate fees imposed by the credit card companies.
Did Florida-based company avoid paying overtime? A dozen Minnesota cleaners say yes
Maria Cruz’s work schedule for cleaning large retail stores was easy to understand — seven days a week, eight hours per day.
But the way she says her employer accounted for those hours wasn’t as simple.
Cruz, 44, of St. Paul worked for Diversified Maintenance Systems for almost three years, cleaning Target stores around the metro area.
For the first five days of work, she earned straight-time pay of $7.25 per hour. On the sixth day, she received overtime pay. But on the seventh day, things got complicated.
She would punch in on a “ghost employee’s” timecard — someone who, for example, no longer worked for the company. Other workers might use the same timecard on a different day.
Come payday, the “ghost employee” was issued a check, the check was cashed and the wages were paid out — at a straight-time rate, and in cash — to the employees who had put in that seventh day of work.
Cruz is one of 12 workers who last year filed a federal civil lawsuit against Diversified Maintenance, which is based in Tampa, Fla. The lawsuit claims that Diversified violated federal law by bilking employees out of overtime pay. Diversified denies the allegations in the lawsuit.
Diversified is a national cleaning company that has contracts with several large retailers in the Twin Cities area including Target, Best Buy, Sears and Kmart. The contractor has been sued several times, in other locations around the country, for fair labor law violations, court records show.
Late this summer, Diversified and attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Minnesota case agreed to identify a larger class of employees who could potentially participate in a settlement. Notifications went out several weeks ago to people who have worked for Diversified in the past three years or so, spread across Minnesota and six other Midwestern states, allowing them to opt into the suit.
For its part, Diversified says that it has paid millions of dollars in overtime, that it doesn’t have a policy against paying overtime, and that it doesn’t have a policy of using “ghost employees.”
Employees who are plaintiffs in the lawsuit never informed anyone of “inappropriate action that may have been taken by a rogue manager,” said Andrea Kiehl, general counsel for Diversified. The employees also used pay cards that didn’t belong to them — a violation of company policy, Kiehl said in an email.
The potential opt-in class of workers “is a fraction of what Plaintiffs sought,” Kiehl added, and so far, the opt-in rate has been less than 1 percent.
It’s unclear in court filings exactly how many employees or former employees might be eligible. But workers say the notifications went to workers who cleaned about 130 retail stores in that seven-state area.
The workers have until mid-November to decide whether to be a part of the case, and then mediation would begin.
“We’ll go in there and do our best to resolve the case,” said Adam Hansen, an attorney with the Nichols Kaster firm in Minneapolis, which represents the workers. If mediation fails, the case would move toward trial.
The case stems in part from competition among cleaning contractors trying to win large retail accounts, Hansen said.
“This is not the way that Target treats its employees,” Hansen said. But the system of contracting out cleaning work “creates this tremendous pressure to try to cheat the system to win these contracts,” he said.
A group called the Center of Workers United in Struggle also has been working with Diversified employees to pressure the company to improve conditions. On Halloween, the group held a rally at a Kmart in Minneapolis, showing support for the workers and emphasizing the “ghost employee” scheme that led to overtime hours without the overtime pay, as alleged in the lawsuit. In addition to supporting the overtime lawsuit, the Center of Workers has complained to workplace safety authorities about a lack of training and work conditions for Diversified employees.
Cruz, who left Diversified late in 2010, now works at a bakery. Recalling her days cleaning retail stores, she says that employees weren’t the ones who decided how they got paid for that seventh day of work.
Through the lawsuit, “part of what we want to accomplish is we want to be an example to other workers,” Cruz said. “We want people to pay overtime. We want broader changes in the workplace.”
Fighting for the changes publicly and pursuing legal action “is the only way we’re going to make things better,” she said.
Halliburton pays $18.3 million in back wages after Labor Department investigation
A federal inquiry that began in Albuquerque two years ago into pay practices at Halliburton has resulted in checks totaling $18.3 million in back wages for more than 1,000 field workers nationwide.
The investigation, part of the U.S. Department of Labor&rsquos initiative into wage practices in the oil and gas industry, focused on Halliburton&rsquos misclassification of employees nationwide in 28 occupations as salaried professionals and, thereby, exempt from overtime and minimum wages. The jobs include field service representatives, pipe recovery specialists, drilling tech advisers, perforating specialists and reliability tech specialists.
While the average payout was $18,000, one employee received $96,000, said Robin Mallett, Houston district director for the Labor Department&rsquos wage and hour office. The smallest check was for $5,000.
Employees worked between 42 hours a week and 87 hours a week between May 2013 and May 2015, she said.
It&rsquos a record-setting amount for the Houston office, said Mallett, who said she could not recall another instance in her 26-year career when the agency here recovered that much in back wages from one company. Some 380 checks went to Halliburton workers in Texas. Mallett said the agency is considering whether to assess financial penalties in addition to the back wages.
Halliburton identified some jobs it misclassified as exempt and reclassified them following a self-audit, according to the company.
&ldquoHalliburton has worked earnestly and cooperatively with the U.S. Department of Labor to equitably resolve this situation,&rdquo Susie McMichael, senior public relations representative for Halliburton, said in a written statement.
Although the investigation began in Albuquerque, agency officials transferred it to Houston because that is where Halliburton is headquartered.
Mallett said she couldn&rsquot comment on what sparked the initial inquiry.
The announcement comes at a time when the federal government is cracking down on wage violations in the oil and gas industry.
In recent months, the department recovered $600,000 in back wages from a mud company for 121 employees who were paid a flat day rate rather than by the hour. More than 2,000 employees at an industrial services provider in Louisiana received $1.9 million because their per diem pay was not included in overtime calculations. And an oil drilling company paid $600,000 to 133 roughnecks and crane operators who were misclassified as independent contractors, Mallett said.
&ldquoThere is a ton of oil field litigation going on right now,&rdquo said Rex Burch, an employment lawyer in Houston who represents workers. While he is not involved in the recent Labor Department case, he is representing hundreds of oil field workers at Halliburton with overtime claims. The workers have filed arbitration claims against Halliburton. Employees must sign arbitration agreements with the company as a condition of employment.
Arbitration cases are confidential and Halliburton cannot comment while they are in progress, McMichael said.
Baker Hughes settled a similar complaint in March after a field specialist filed a lawsuit in federal court in Galveston, saying the Houston-based company did not pay overtime wages to him and at least 200 co-workers who regularly put in more than 80 hours per week.
Field specialist Robert Lea sued Baker Hughes in 2013, claiming the oil-field-services giant told new hires they were expected to work long stretches and be on call around-the-clock, but did not properly reimburse the workers for the excess hours.
Under terms of the agreement, Baker Hughes agreed to make payments to a group of field specialists that qualified as part of the class action. The total amount of the settlement was not disclosed.
Baker Hughes did not comment.
Burch speculates the fall in oil prices is encouraging more workers to come forward.
&ldquoWhen there is a layoff, my phone explodes,&rdquo he said.
Sometimes workers receive higher salaries to compensate them for the long hours in the 24/7 industry, Mallett said. Other times, employees are improperly paid straight time rather than the time-and-one-half rate when they work more than 40 hours a week.
The agency has focused its oil and gas initiative in key oil-producing states in the middle swath of the country. Besides Texas, that includes New Mexico, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming.
Not counting the Halliburton settlement, the two-year effort has collected more than $15 million in back wages for 8,400 employees.