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Celebrities don't always make the best restaurateurs; just ask Eva Longoria or Flavor Flav. But you'd at least hope that they'd pay their employees properly and pass on the tips those employees earned.
But nine current and former employees at Jessica Biel's Au Fudge restaurant in Los Angeles are suing the actress and five other partners in the business, alleging they were denied gratuities and rest breaks. And they're asking for at least a million bucks.
The bulk of Au Fudge's income, which, as Radar Online reported, has yet to turn a profit, came from private events or so-called "buyouts" for companies like Amazon, Netflix, and others. And, like any large group going to a restaurant, they were charged automatic gratuity, normally 22 percent, which came to $14,630 in Amazon's case and $13,271.50 for Netflix. But the plaintiffs claim they never saw a dime of those tips, and were allegedly told by co-owner Jon Rollo, "Don't worry about it."
The suit claims employees were shorted around $430,100 in gratuities from the special events, and lost out on an additional $31,549 in rest breaks they claim the restaurant denied them. They're also asking for at least $1,000,000 in punitive damages.
The nine employees who filed the suit were allegedly part of the team that opened Au Fudge, "young adults new to the workforce and new to Los Angeles," who worked at the restaurant "as a way to get by" while "trying to begin a career in the entertainment industry." "Plaintiffs were unfamiliar with workers' rights," the suit contends, "and were ill-prepared to deal with violations of their rights in the workplace."
But they've take to the wage theft lawsuit like a fish to water, with receipts of the unpaid gratuities and affidavits attesting to management and ownership's dismissal of their claims. Biel and her partners had no comment regarding the suit.