A class action suit has been filed against the operator of several downtown night clubs, Yassine Enterprises, which owns bastions of superclass such as Qua, Kiss & Fly and Treasure Island. The allegation: violation of federal minimum wage requirements. Former employee Jack Webb (and whoever joins him in the suit, which we hope includes those sharks from the Qua dance floor) claims that Yassine paid "no wages at all to tipped employees." From a press release sent this morning:
The former employee, who brought the suit, Jake Webb, explained that he pursued the suit to right what he saw as a clearly improper and illegal business practice and to prevent further blatant violations of federal law. He also wants to obtain some measure of justice for himself and the others victimized by what he saw as an abusive business practice. “I just want myself and the other victims to obtain what the law says we are entitled to, and hopefully prevent further exploitation of wage earners in the future,” he said.Read the full press release after the jump.
CLASS ACTION SUIT FILED AGAINST LOCAL BAR AND NIGHTCLUB OWNER
Bartenders and wait staff may be entitled to payment for previously worked hours
AUSTIN, TX (January 18, 2012) – Notices to over two hundred former and current employees of eight downtown Austin nightclubs owned by Yassine Enterprises, LLC are being issued this week, as authorized by a November 14, 2011 order issued by Federal District Judge Sam Sparks in favor of a local man. The order allows his suit for violation of federal minimum wage requirements against Mike Yassine and Yassine Enterprises, LLC to proceed as a collective action, with any similarly situated former employees allowed to join as co-claimants. The plaintiff’s counsel seeks to have as many people take part in the suit as possible.
As background, on September 9, 2011 a former employee filed a federal lawsuit against Yassine Enterprises LLC claiming that his employer had an established practice of failing to pay him and other staff proper wages. The former employee claims that Yassine Enterprises was in violation of federal minimum wage requirements by generally paying no wages at all to tipped employees, and that it also did not follow the mandatory “tip credit” steps to authorize payment of a reduced minimum wage from $7.25 to $2.13 per hour. He alleges that he, along with other staff, are entitled under federal law to receive back pay of $7.25 per hour for all hours worked while employed by certain bars and nightclubs owned by Yassine Enterprises, and that this base amount should be doubled under federal law for a total of $14.50 per hour for each hour worked during the approximately three year period preceding the date the suit was filed.
The former employee, who brought the suit, Jake Webb, explained that he pursued the suit to right what he saw as a clearly improper and illegal business practice and to prevent further blatant violations of federal law. He also wants to obtain some measure of justice for himself and the others victimized by what he saw as an abusive business practice. “I just want myself and the other victims to obtain what the law says we are entitled to, and hopefully prevent further exploitation of wage earners in the future,” he said.
Yassine has acknowledged in court filings that Webb was not the only one affected by its practices, and there are numerous current and former employees that may be entitled to payment. Judge Sparks has allowed Webb to proceed with a collective action suit along with any other similarly situated current or former employees of Yassine Enterprises, LLC and its affiliated entities who choose to participate. Participants eligible to “opt in” to the suit as “putative class members” are anyone employed as a bartender or wait staff at the establishments known as Roial, Malaia, Treasure Island, Kiss & Fly, Pure, Spill and Qua, at any time between October 15, 2008 to November 1, 2011, as well as any wait staff employed at Fuel during this period.
Those identified by Yassine as “similarly situated” should be mailed a notification informing them of their rights and the procedure for “opting in” by Webb’s attorneys this week. Potentially eligible parties who believe they meet the requirements have 60 days (until March 23, 2012) to join the suit by filing the appropriate papers with the federal court. More information can be obtained by contacting Webb’s attorneys, Kevin Brown (email@example.com) or Dan Byrne (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Fritz, Byrne, Head & Harrison PLLC. 98 San Jacinto Blvd., Suite 2000, Austin, TX 78701, or call 512.476.2020.
· All Legal Issues Coverage on Eater Austin [-EATX-]
· Yassine Enterprises [Official]
Qua. [Photo: Yassine/Official]