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New University Deli FLSA, NYLL Overtime Pay Collective Action

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Salad and Dressing from New University Deli in Plastic Containers

It seems that the eight-hour day our forebears supposedly established for workers still doesn’t cover low-paid workers in city restaurants. The complaint for this class action claims that the New University Deli paid flat weekly salaries and did not calculated overtime at the legally-required rates. The complaint also claims other violations of federal and state laws about minimum wages and the spread of hours, but these are related to the overtime claim. 

The collective class for this action is all persons who are or were employed in the US by the New University Deli or Bong Jun Choi, at any time between November 14, 2015 and the entry of judgment in this case, who were back-of-the-house employees and who were not paid overtime compensation of at least time-and-a-half for hours worked in excess of forty per week. 

The New University Deli is located at West 168thStreet in New York, NY, near Columbia University’s Medical Center. 

Both plaintiffs in this case are food preparers. Plaintiff Miguel Juarez began working there in March 2013, working ten and a half hour days during the week and eight hours on Saturday, for a total of sixty and a half hours per week.  Plaintiff Eduardo Catalan began working there in May 2017 and works roughly fifty-five and a half hours per week. The restaurant does not have a time clock or sign-in sheet to keep records of hours worked. 

Despite the long hours, the complaint alleges that the men were both paid fixed weekly salaries for their work. Juarez was originally paid $450 per week, which was later raised to $480; Catalan was paid $550. The complaint contends that those rates of pay, if properly divided among the hours the men worked, come out at below the city’s minimum wage. According to the complaint, their pay also did not cover the “spread of hours” provision in New York state law. This requires that employees working a shift longer than ten hours must be paid an extra hour’s pay at straight time. 

In addition, the complaint claims, the men were paid in cash and did not receive wage and hour statements or pay stubs, nor did they receive the information and weekly records required by the Wage Theft Prevention Act. The complaint claims that other employees in similar position were treated in the same way. 

The complaint claims violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. 

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