Tuesday, February 11, 2014

$1.4M Lawsuit Settlement Reached Between La Fuente Restaurant Owners And Employees?

A $1.4M tentative settlement figure is being negotiated in a federal wage violation lawsuit between former employees and the owners of La Fuente Restaurant.

By H. Nelson Goodson
February 11, 2014

Milwaukee,  WI -  On Tuesday, Hispanic News Network U.S.A. (HNNUSA) has learned that a $1.4 million tentative settlement figure is being negotiated by five plaintiffs claiming that La Fuente Restaurant established a written work policy to pressure servers who wanted to keep their jobs, to come in early to set-up tables without an hourly wage or pay before customers would come in to eat. The early work policy was enforced in two restaurants that resulted in wage violations.
Attorney Larry Johnson representing the plaintiffs contacted HNNUSA and confirmed that a settlement has not been reached in the La Fuente case. Johnson would not confirm or deny the $1.4M figure being negotiated.
In an e-mail, Johnson wrote, that both La Fuente and the plaintiffs in a joint statement confirmed that no settlement has been reached and La Fuente denies any wrongdoing. Which strongly indicates, a settlement is about to be reached.
The employees had claimed that they were not compensated for the early hours worked, had to share tips with other staff, were forced to pay for food and drinks not accepted by customers or those that left without paying the bill for the meal. The employees claimed they were paid below the minimum wage allowed.
The workers also had to pay for their uniforms, aprons, hot pads to serve fajitas, order pads and employees name tags, according to the lawsuit.
The employees affected were seeking wage compensation, attorney's fees and for La Fuente to abide by fair employment practices.
Dozens of employees including former employees contacted the plaintiff's attorney in a class action federal lawsuit, but only five actually proceeded with the lawsuit, according to the lawsuit filing. Both Jose Zarate and Elva Navejar, the owners operate three La Fuente Restaurants at the 600 block of S. 5th Street in Milwaukee's South side, 9400 block of Bluemound Road in Wuawatosa and 2400 block of Kossow Road in Waukesha. 
More than five years ago, La Fuente allegedly had previously included a service fee (mandatory 18%) on the bill of multiple people at a table, but those paying with credit cards were unaware and left additional tips. The restaurant had to change its practice and removed the service fee wording on the receipts with multiple customers on a table after complaints surfaced.

La Fuente class-action lawsuit news video (7/2013)

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