Friday, December 26, 2008

Illegal Craigslist Job Postings

Below is an ad I saw on Craigslist today. I wish some male bartender would go by this place and ask to fill out an application. Make sure you get the name of the person who denied you the chance for a job.

I tracked the fax number and the bar is called Norman's Tavern, 6770 Collins Avenue,
Miami Beach, FL 33141. Call then and let them now how you feel if you like. (305) 868-9248.

Call me after you get denied so we can set this place straight.

Reply to:
Date: 2008-12-26, 8:26PM EST

We are looking for a serious professional bartender for our North Beach bar restaurant.
You must have at least 1 year experience with high volume business. Energetic and able to multi-task.
No job hoppers. You will make money at our established business.
Night shifts and some day shifts are available. If you have experience in nightclubs but are tired of that scene and have the desire to work with locals this could be the right opportunity.
Send resume for immediate consideration.
Fax resume to 305-861-3133 or e-mail resume.
You must be available for New Year's eve if need be.

* Location: MIAMI BEACH
* Compensation: hourly with excellent tips
* Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
* Please, no phone calls about this job!
* Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Manhattan: Ex-Restaurant Workers Sue

Published: July 10, 2007

Jean-Georges Vongerichten has become the latest restaurateur to be accused of stealing waiters’ tips and cheating on wages. The allegations, in a lawsuit filed yesterday in Federal District Court by six former employees, involve the restaurant V Steakhouse in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. V Steakhouse closed at the end of 2005. The lawsuit accuses V Steakhouse of illegally dividing tips among the restaurant’s managers as well as the servers, busboys and captains. The lawsuit also says that because V Steakhouse handled the tips that way, it underpaid the nonmanagerial employees, because they earned less than the minimum wage under state law, which was $6 an hour when the restaurant closed. D. Maimon Kirschenbaum, the lawyer representing the former V Steakhouse workers, said restaurant owners are allowed to pay employees who receive tips less than the minimum wage, but not if the tips are divided among “nontipped employees” like managers. Calls to Mr. Vongerichten’s office were not returned yesterday.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

AB&T Stings in South Florida

I have recently learned that AB&T are running underage drinking stings throughout South Florida. Although this is nothing new, it seems that the “underage” girl that they are using this time looks 25 years old. Most of us have taken the Responsible Vendors class at least once. Some of us, who have made the restaurant business our career, have taken the class so many times we could teach it. Responsible Vendors tells you that you should card every person that looks under 35. I wish that we all had the time every time to do just that. However, five deep at the bar on a Saturday night it becomes almost impossible to card everyone for every drink that is served. Many times we rely on Security to spot and stop the underage patrons at the door. But this was not the case in Broward just a few weeks ago.

A Broward County Gambling establishment (to remain un-named) was the host to Florida’s AB&T team in the end of September of 2008. A 19 year old Girl, “dressed to the nines” and over six feet tall, apparently ordered and was served drinks by every single bartender working that night. All ten bartenders were given a “Notice to Appear” for violating Florida Laws on serving the underage.

Apparently the Girl was not stopped or carded by security at the door or at any of the other check points within the casino area. She was able to engage and order drinks from ten different bartenders apparently paying for them with cash. After her rounds were done, the backup AB&T officers closed down the establishment and met with all of the bartenders and issued them citations. What remains to be established is whether the bartenders were so remiss in carding the “underage” Girl that they violated Florida law.

Florida law state that “the appearance of the person was such that an ordinarily prudent person would believe him or her to be of legal age to purchase or consume the alcoholic beverage” is not by itself a total defense. However, the defense of entrapment can be considered as a total defense or a mitigating factor by the court and the maximum fine of $500 reduced if the defendant is found guilty. It is highly unlikely that any first time offender would face any jail time for serving an underage person. If the threat of jail time is removed by the judge, then so is the right to have a public defender represent you if you cannot afford an attorney.

For more information on this issue, and to have an attorney consider the facts of your individual case, please contact our law firm.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hooters Issue Never Really Resolved

Do you all remember the "Hooters Issue" a few years back (1995)? A guy applied for a server position and the restaurant refused to hire him ("its 'Hooters' dude'"). Well, the guy complained to the EEOC and he also got himself a lawyer. Before the case got to trial Hooters settled with him. The issue was never really resolved and Hooters still does not hire men servers.

How can that be? There just serving food and drinks. Discrimination stinks!!!

Here is the link for the whole story:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Florida Restaurant Law - Welcome

Florida Restaurant Law or FRL for short, is my blog. I am Lowell Kuvin, a retired restaurateur (25+ years) who went to law school. I am now a South Florida Lawyer who is specializing in restaurant law. I mainly represent employees and ex-employees against the restaurants who have wronged them.

Most of my posts will consist of new and developing areas of restaurant law, including different cases I am working on. (Confidentiality always observed where it applies).

It is my experience that many people who work in the business are not aware of the right guaranteed them by Florida and Federal laws. Florida might be a right to work state, but it also provides for many worker's rights that your employer may not want you to know or which they may not be aware of themselves.

Additionally, I find that many employees are scared about confronting their employers for fear of losing their job or being labeled as a troublemakers within the restaurant community. All I can say is that I do understand because I went through the same thing at a couple of restaurants I worked for.

What I can do, as someone who knows the business and who is a lawyer, is provide advice for those of you who feel that they need someone to talk to. The solution is not always confrontation or filing a lawsuit. Sometimes a single letter from my office to the HR Director or the General Manager, without mentioning your identity, can solve the problem.

Remember, by law, all conversations that we have are protected by the attorney client privilege as required by the Florida Bar. I cannot, without your permission, contact your employer or divulge your identity to anyone unless you allow me to. Everything is strictly confidential between you and me.

I can be reached in my office during the week at 305.358.6800 or by email almost all the time at