HR Strange But True!
October 08, 2004

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, who made a national reputation as a crusader by taking on greedy mutual fund firms and lying Wall Street bankers, is now riding to the rescue of New York City's unpaid restaurant bathroom attendants.

An investigation conducted by his office showed that attendants in the city's upscale restaurants were not receiving any wages; in fact, they were paying for the privilege of mining tips in bathrooms in exchange for providing toiletries and a hand towel.

Spitzer announced this week that he was filing a $4 million lawsuit against Royal Flush, the city's main placement service for bathroom attendants. According to the suit, Royal Flush required workers to pay a "lease fee" proportional to the tips collected during each shift, in which attendants hover near bathroom sinks to assist patrons and provide dispensers of after-shave lotion, cologne, mouthwash and other supplies.

"The idea of people working without wages and having to pay a fee to stand in a bathroom and wait for tips is unconscionable," Spitzer said. "The arrangement violated state labor law, and deprived people of the dignity of the minimum wage."

Already, he has secured a settlement with the owners of Tavern on the Green restaurant. They agreed to hire 14 workers on a full-time basis and pay up to $175,000 to compensate attendants for minimum wage underpayments for the past five years.

Source: Reuters, via Yahoo!

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