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My employeers aren't paying us cooks!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
It started two and a half weeks ago when some of the paychecks started bouncing. Now they are currently a week late on the payroll. They haven't given anyone a date when they will issue the checks. When asked, the managers either "don't know whats going on" or brush us off. Otherwise they don't say anything about the situation.

In addition, they have been shorting me a dollar an hour, for last three pay periods and only made good on one of them. They owe about $130 in arrairs.

So basically, they're sitting on one month of payroll.

I fear they are about to go under, and I have no idea what options I have to collect that pay. I might go to work someday soon, only to find the place boarded up.

Anybody got any ideas?
post #2 of 21
it's time to get a new job - ASAP, don't worry too much about giving notice as the owners are already doing that for you. and contact the local labor board to report their practices and file a claim for unpaid wages. i know that in Massachusetts employees are the first paid if the business goes bankrupt.
good luck,
post #3 of 21
yes, Labor Board while you can still find them.
post #4 of 21
Just a warning. That happened to me at a place in Denver. To sweeten the deal...I got to work one morning and the IRS had sealed the place. It took me a year to get my knives and tools back.
post #5 of 21
Get out now!!!! This place has "CLOSED" written all over it. Contact the labor board, but good luck in getting any back pay. If they file bankrupcy you may have quite a while to wait for any kind of payment, and then it may only be cents on the dollar. Find a new job, abandon ship. And as Britt said, get all your personal items out of there before it's closed down or it may be quite awhile before all personal property gets sorted out.
post #6 of 21
If you are totally without moral fiber, go in and load yourself up with wine, hand towels, kitchen aide mixers, etc. until you feel your debts are justly compensated. Then run off into the sunset.

A good working robot coupe on e-bay can make up for a bounced paycheck or two. (Depending on your pay, I guess.)

It's not like they'll need it where they're going.
post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I'm currently hitting Craigslist and will be pounding the pavement soon. I'm also having trouble finding the information I need on the CA Labor and EDD websites. I'll have to wait until monday when I can talk to a real person.


The Chef and the GM had a meeting with us saturday afternoon and told us the story. Apperantly, one of the partners had left the country to Columbia without putting any money into the restaurant's account. Supposedly, one of the other partners is going to transfer money into the account on Monday, and they will issue checks 2-3 days after that. They also claimed they were going to pay us out of the till today (mothers' day), which never happened.

I am not very opptamistic about the situation. I'm planning on staying on for at least this week, because I figure if I leave I will never get paid. The job hunt begins again! I'm mostly dissapointed that I will have another brief job on my resume.

Mother's Day was pretty crazy. The bosses had neglected to schedule a dish washer. They'll put a dishwasher on Monday nights with zero on the books, but not put one on when they know they have 75 reservations on the books.
I got to do gardmanger and dishdogging at the same time (chef helped with the dishes for ~15 min). I almost walked out when I found out that the GM's idea of expediting was to tell me when my plates where late. (The gardmanger is in the back kitchen so I can't see the dining room and know the pace of service.)

After we shut down for service, one of the hot line guys (everyone else had left) and I were stuck with moutains of pots, hotel pans, and cambros. We ended up leaving most of it because we were heading 1 hour into OT (like they're going to pay for RT). We also didn't want to set a precendent. I felt pretty bad for leaving that mess, but I'm sick of being taken advantage of.
post #8 of 21
you'll find the labor comissioner's local phone# in the govt. pages in the front of the phone book. Takes a while to get someone but keep trying, they will direct you further. Call EDD first thing in the morning and open a claim also, just to CYA.

Good luck, sounds like moms day was the last hurrah....i would not continue to work until i saw some $$. Promises don't pay the rent. Been there, done that, am still huntin for someone ;).
post #9 of 21
As for the short gig on your resume, a litle creative writing can fix that, don't sweat it! Besides saying that you left a job because you were not getting paid is not going to count against you in the job search. The common theme here from all the comments is get out now! Most of us have stayed at jobs well past the point of no return. Get your claim in the the LB and pound away. Good Luck and keep us posted!
Chef Bob

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
Chef Bob

"Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what's for lunch?" ~ Orsen Wells (1915-1985)
post #10 of 21
Do you know what you call rats who jump off a sinking ship?

Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 


I quit today! I also found out they hadn't paid the medical bill's for my on-the-job injury. "Trust us to handle the bills" :rolleyes:

So, I spent much of the day filing with the Labor board, unemloyment, and writing them a letter, detailing how much they owed in back pay, arrears, and unpaid bills, and terminating my employment. They were upset.

Additionally, I had taken the recipe bible I had written and printed on my on dime and on my own time, home with me. The chef was PO'd. Dispite the fact I had given him copies of Mastercook and the recipe files to him and the then souschef. He insist's that it was wrong for me to have taken HIS recipes, and now they have nothing to work with.

Maybe, I'm missing the point here. I spent a lot of time and effort compiling those recipes. Not only did they need to be standardized, but I also had to track down any changes people had made to the food, and had not recorded. I also spent a lot of time exporting them into MasterCook. I had really wanted the original 'used' copy for my portfolio.

On the other hand, I already had all the recipes on my computer anyway. I could have just taken the book out of vindictivness. Also, the chef claims not to have access to the CD I gave him.

The chef wants the book back first thing tomorrow. My dad thinks that I should use this for leverage, (I'll give you the book, if you give me my pay).

I think the heart of this issue, is that chef is deeply pissed that I have
"absconded" with his intellectual property. (He related that when he left his last restaurant, he didn't take the recipe book, even though they where HIS recipes)

So, am I right or wrong in keeping the book? What's the right thing to do in this situation? On the philosphical bent, is it right to use other peoples recipes (even if they just adapted them from another book)?
post #12 of 21
Theft has always been, in my mind, an integral part of the restaurant industry. People steal recipies, staff, ideas, all sorts of stuff. If the chef is that hung up about it you could always just make another copy and give that to him (if you really want the used one) but in my mind the chef should have access to a new copy, otherwise he's obviously running a pretty rocky ship.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Speaking of theft:

Chef called about couple hours ago to find out when I could bring the notebook, mentioned that somebody stole his vita-prep blender last night. I hope he doesn't try to pin that on me.

Poor chef though, I think he is getting cheated out of his investment. I think the other owners are running a pyramid scheme on him, so I think that he is going to be out his investment, plus what he spent out of pocket for groceries etc.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Sigh another update.

The bosses said they had my termination checks ready. When I got there to collect, the chef hassled me for my copy of the recipes. I told him he could have my copy as soon as the check cleared. Turns out they had the check, but they admitted they had no funds in the account to cover it.

What a waste of time. I also found out they have no workers comp carrier!

The upshot is, I still have not gotten paid, and I still have my copy of the recipes.

I wonder if they have paid all the withholding taxes on what they did pay me.
post #15 of 21
Though I might be tempted to do the same thing as you, in your situation, I would return the recipe book. Make copies if you want, but return the originals and any of the work you did on them. If not you could end up hurting your case if it ever gets to that point. You did the work on the recipes while in their employ. Legally it is their intellectual property, and what you did could be considered theft. It might hurt your chances, in court, if you end up having to go after these guys. It may feel good to say "piss on you", but why risk it when it looks like you are going to end up in court over this. This is the kind of thing that could make the case go their way. Not saying its right or wrong, just saying that you need to look like you did everything right. So decide what's more important, the money they owe you or your pride and ego.
post #16 of 21
true words. Unfortunately i never let money get in the way of my pride and ego. Man i never learn.
post #17 of 21
Don't worry about the medical bills. Contact workmans comp. I hope you filed a claim at the time of the injury. when you go to the Er it is critical that you tell them it's a workmans comp claim. If they haven't paid, you aren't on the hook. They will be resposible for all resulting med. coverage.
Federal law requires them to covered as well as having ALL info posted on a bulliten board in plain site of all employees.
If the don't pay. They will not only be responsible for bills, but fines as well as penalties.
One time I was injured. I gave the info to the Er when I was getting stiched up. Turns out the owner was part owner of another place(a bar). He put out dupes of their coverage. It didn't fly. He was running on a shoe string and it put him out of business.
I lost my last pay on that. He told me if I would have come to him he would have paid the bill and saved all the hassle.
Happened at the end of the nite and he was out of town for a week.
The only problem you might have is being paid if there down time from the injury. Workmans comp might cover it or not. That's a judgement call on their end.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Went by the restaurant yesterday to drop off a letter a lawer friend of mine helped to prepare. The place was closed up. They had posted signs in all the windows saying that they would be closed for two weeks for "kitchen remodeling." Sounds like they're done for good and just a week after I left.

Also, I was going through all the paperwork I have for this mess, and I noticed that the D.B.A. name on their business liscence doesn't match the name of the restaurant. Is that a bad sign, for future reference?
post #19 of 21
Not at all. Could be partners or a consortium. DBA is doing business as.
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

Called back one of the partners today. They are offering to pay us 50 cents on the dollar of our back wages because they are such nice guys and they want to make their employees happy.

I am shaking with teh rage!

The guy claimed to have payed the hospital and claimed that he will pay it. So get stiffed. Claims he can provide proof that he paid, but the hospital still has the entire balance outstanding when I called them this afternoon. I'm going to see if I can't settle for 50 cents on the dollar cash for the bill.

Thank God I wasn't carrying liability the chef was/is.
post #21 of 21
buddy of mine just went through something similar. labor board awarded him treble damages-3 bucks on the buck owed. Course collecting now that they skipped is proving a little tough....

Good luck whatever direction you go.
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