Maimon Kirschenbaum recently sued one Iron Chef and now he’s taking on another. Today, Jose Bueno, a bar back at Morimoto for about three and a half years, filed a lawsuit alleging that the restaurant failed to pay him a “spread of hours” premium for work days that were over ten hours, and that it retained a portion of the fee paid by patrons for banquets or private events. Kirschenbaum says that Morimoto charges 20 percent for large parties, but gives servers only 15 percent, in part because a silver polisher is included in the tip pool. According to Kirschenbaum, this is illegal because the polisher doesn’t interact with customers. “The silver polisher should be well paid just like the chef and dishwasher,” he says, “But the customer is leaving a tip for the waiter and the tip is the waiter’s tip.”
So what does Kirschenbaum say to people who call these lawsuits frivolous? “As repetitive as these lawsuits may be, the law is pretty clear, which is the reason that perfectly intelligent individuals keep on bringing the same lawsuit over and over again.” He says, “Both sharing tips with management and non-service employees and taking parts of mandatory gratuities are blatantly illegal practices.” The complaint is below.
Jose Bueno v. Morimoto [pdf]