Manhattan: Ex-Restaurant Workers Sue
By JAMES BARRON
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.