Award-winning actress Jessica Biel is usually in the spotlight for her impressive acting career, production aspirations, or marriage with musician Justin Timberlake. Now, however, she is in the spotlight for something much more dramatic.
The actress is a co-owner of a kid-friendly restaurant, Au Fudge, in Los Angeles. Now, Biel and her business partners are being sued for allegedly withholding over $430,000 in tips from employees.
According to People, the restaurant commonly hosts private events and "buyouts," where customers automatically are charged a gratuity of 22%. Now, nine current and former employees are suing the owners for withholding the tips that belonged to employees.
The plaintiffs claimed that because much of the restaurant's profit came from large events, the tips that the employees received should have been much larger. They gave the example of an exclusive Netflix event that took place at the restaurant last summer. The bill was for $80,220.19 and included a $13,271.50 tip. However, the plaintiffs said they never received that money.
The owners, Biel, Estee Stanley, Joey Gonzalez, Kimberly Muller, and Jonathan Rollo, allegedly "wrongfully converted" the amount of tip money that technically belonged to employees. According to the statement, they pocketed the extra money for themselves. Additionally, complaints were made about how employees were treated.
The legal statement said, "Each of [the employees] had their gratuities wrongfully converted and were improperly denied meal and rest breaks, overtime compensation and earned wages under various illegal payroll practices."
“Defendants charged hundreds of thousands of dollars in gratuities to private-party customers and converted said gratuities to themselves in order to pad their own pockets and deprive plaintiffs their just compensation in violation of law," it continued.
The nine employees are suing the owners for $430,100 in gratuities, $31,549 for missed breaks, and $1,000,000 for punitive damages.
The company's lawyer said, "The Company does not comment on pending litigation and has not had an opportunity to review the Complaint, but looks forward to defending itself in Court."
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