In a year marked by a dramatic increase in complaints about illegal employment practices in the restaurant industry, the Saigon Grill on the Upper West Side has been one of the most vivid examples of such behavior. Last year, the owners of the restaurant were found guilty of deliberately paying workers less than $2 an hour, and withholding tips and other compensation from workers. The Judge ordered a $4.6 million dollar verdict, as well as issuing a 90 day sentence for the owner, Mr. Nget for a variety of fraud and record keeping violations.
Now workers have filed a new lawsuit against the new owners, claiming that while management may have changed hands, the same discriminatory policies are in effect. The New York Times has turned its attention to the workers fired for complaining about these policies. They found that many workers have come forward alleging they were terminated because they were too old, had their schedules manipulated after complaining and had wages and tips withheld illegally.
The suit had been filed by the 318 Restaurant Workers Union on behalf of former and current employees affected by the new owners behavior. The Union has also organized vocal protests in front of the store on the otherwise quiet neighborhood of the Upper West Side, causing many to question their patronage. As well, a website has been set up urging a boycott of the Saigon Grill.
As the restaurant industry comes under greater scrutiny for enforcing the law, coupled with the implementation of New York’s new law regarding minimum wage and tipping, we urge all restaurant workers to examine the policies of their employer. If you believe your employer is violating the law, contact us today to evaluate your rights.