It is not uncommon for Hollywood actors to branch out into other fields, such as music or theater. Now and then, an actor tries an industry far removed from the arts, such as running a restaurant. Restaurant ownership is not always what celebrities expect, and when wage and hour disputes erupt, actors may find their reputations on the line. Tennessee fans may recognize one actress who is currently embroiled in such a lawsuit after employees at her elite restaurant complained of wage theft.
Jessica Biel's trendy restaurant, Au Fudge, attracts A-list celebrities with children by offering paparazzi-free dining and elegant cocktails. However, the restaurant business is not being kind to the actress, and her renowned chef walked off the job before the doors even opened for business. The most crushing blow is likely the lawsuit nine workers recently filed, claiming numerous labor violations.
The lawsuit alleges the restaurant illegally withheld $430,000 in wages. These claimed violations include unlawfully pooling tips, preventing overtime hours and denying meal breaks. The employees also claim the restaurant withheld hundreds of thousands of dollars in private party gratuities. Servers often depend on tips to make ends meet, and going home at the end of a tiring shift without the anticipated earnings is frustrating.
Workers in Tennessee and across the country deserve fair wages for their work, and the law protects them from employers who wrongfully withhold those wages. Additionally, wage and hour disputes often bring to light other labor violations that workers may address with the assistance of an attorney. Biel's restaurant may be her first venture into the hospitality industry, but the laws regarding the fair treatment of employees still pertain.
Source: grubstreet.com, "Jessica Biel's Au Fudge Accused of Stealing $430,000 in Tips", Clint Rainey, Sept. 14, 2017