A federal judge on Wednesday provisionally approved the first part of proposed settlements totaling $3.9 million in two closely watched wage-violation lawsuits brought against one of Manhattan’s leading restaurant owners.
The judge, Paul A. Crotty, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, approved a $588,000 settlement in a lawsuit against the Redeye Grill, a Midtown restaurant, and indicated that he would soon approve a second settlement of more than $3 million against other restaurants owned by the Fireman Hospitality Group, which owns Redeye. Those restaurants are Cafe Fiorello, Bond 45, Brooklyn Diner, Shelly’s and Trattoria Dell’Arte.
Waiters and other workers charged that Fireman’s restaurants often violated wage and hour laws by erasing hours from employees’ time cards, not paying the minimum wage and overtime, giving managers part of the tips and docking employees’ paychecks if their customers walked out without paying. Five workers are also threatening to bring a new lawsuit charging sexual harassment and racial discrimination.