HR Strange But True!
January 23, 2009

A group of waiters has filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that TV “Throwdown” host and Iron Chef Bobby Flay violated the Fair Labor Standards Act regarding tips, overtime, and withholding at his trendy restaurants.

Food Channel star Flay, known for his expertise in grilling and Southwestern cuisine (and good looks), is often chosen by challenging chefs to go head to head with them using a “secret ingredient” such as peaches or goat meat.

The case, filed in the South District of New York by several waiters against Flay's restaurant group, Bold Food LLC, says that the chef failed to “properly distribute mandatory gratuities” by “tip pooling,” says a press release from the plaintiffs' law firm Outten & Golden LLP. According to the complaint, Flay's company also “violated wage and hour laws by … redistributing portions of employees' tips to non-tip eligible employees, failing to pay proper overtime compensation to employees who worked more than 40 hours in a workweek; failing to reimburse workers for the cost of purchasing and laundering required uniforms, and failing to pay workers ‘spread of hour pay' for days on which they worked more than 10 hours.”

We could find no statement from Flay or his attorneys at press time. Other celebrity restaurateurs who have been slapped with similar FLSA-related lawsuits include actor Robert DiNiro, singer Justin Timberlake, and Top Chef Tom Colicchio, according to the New York Daily News.

Source: New York Daily News

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