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Employees Sue Dinosaur Bar-B-Que Over Minimum Wage Violations

By Gustavo Solis | March 31, 2015 3:04pm | Updated on March 31, 2015 7:15pm
 Employees filed a class action lawsuit against the popular BBQ restaurant for unfair wages.
Employees filed a class action lawsuit against the popular BBQ restaurant for unfair wages.
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Facebook/Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

HARLEM — Dinosaur Bar-B-Que doesn't pay its employees fair wages or overtime and makes them split tips with the kitchen staff and managers, according to a class action lawsuit filed in Manhattan federal court.

Former employee Ashley Hankins, who worked there from July 2012 to January 2015, claims that the rib joint forced waitstaff and bartenders — both of whom received a reduced minimum wage — to perform “back-of-the-house” tasks like stocking, cleaning, brewing coffee, and refilling condiments, a violation of state and fedral laws.

The lawsuit, which was first reported by Syracuse.com, hopes to recover wages and overtime pay for all servers, bussers, runners and bartenders at the restaurant’s Harlem, Gowanus, Syracuse, Buffalo, Rochester and Troy branches.

Employers are allowed to pay workers who earn tips reduced minimum wage, according to the Department of Labor. However, if those workers spend more than 20 percent of their time on side work, they are required to make the full minimum wage.

“We have been made aware of the allegations,” a restaurant spokeswoman said. “We have no further comments at this time.”

Additionally, workers did not receive overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours a week or 10 hours per day, according to the lawsuit.

Until the end of 2013, tipped workers at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que were required to pay the management $10 and split 17 percent of their tip with kitchen staff whenever customers made reservations and prepaid for their food, according to Fitapelli & Schaffer, the lawyers representing Hankins.

Tipped workers cannot be forced to share their tips with managers, chefs and cooks, according to the Department of Labor. 

The law firm did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.