CHARLESTON — A Staten Island chef was shown a stomach-turning photo of a person with chopped-off fingers and was threatened with the same fate — all because he asked his boss to fork over a W-2, a new lawsuit charges.
Alfred Lolange is now suing Z-Two Diner & Lounge, accusing its management of harassing him for months and eventually firing him because he continued to request the form to pay his taxes.
"My client is determined to get what's owed to him and make a point here — it's not the way you treat people," Lolange's lawyer, Anthony Mango, told DNAinfo New York.
Lolange, of Flatbush, Brooklyn, was hired in February 2012 at a salary of $2,000 per week. After his first week on the job, he was handed $1,500 in cash, the lawsuit says. The Charleston diner's owner, Steve Osman, allegedly told him that the $500 was withheld from his pay for taxes.
In January 2013, at the start of the tax season, Lolange twice approached Osman about a W-2 form so he could meet with his accountant. Both times the owner told him, "It's coming," according to the lawsuit filed on June 6 in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
When Lolange asked a third time, Osman showed him the fingerless picture on his phone and said, "This is what happens to people with a big mouth," the lawsuit says.
Lolange claims his boss harassed and intimidated him for the next three months, with the feud boiling over on Easter Sunday on March 31.
That day Lolange arrived at work in a suit and changed into his chef's whites. After his shift, he discovered that someone had cut up his suit jacket and slacks.
When Lolange asked Osman what happened to his duds, his boss responded, "This is what happens to people who talk too much," the lawsuit says. Osman then fired Lolange.
Messages left at the diner for Osman were not returned.
The lawsuit seeks the withheld money and unspecified punitive damages. Mango said he tried working with the diner's lawyers to resolve the differences before filing a lawsuit, but they never coughed up a W-2.
"Obviously, they took the money under the guise of withholding it for taxes ... but it seems they never paid it to the IRS or the state's Department of Taxation and Finance," he said of the diner.
"If they had been, they would be more than happy to give us the W-2."