BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)–Mike Dolce has worked at Tempo since 2015. In addition to working as a server in the restaurant, he would also work the private parties. He remembers one night when he worked a large private party instead of getting the 1,200 gratuity, he left with just his hourly pay amounting to a total of $100.
“The manager must of felt really bad for me that night, because at the end of the night he had the grill cook make me a pork chop. Now, it was really tasty, but definitely not worth a thousand dollars,” said Dolce.
Now, he and 4 others filed a lawsuit against the owners for $300,000 for wage fraud. Their claim is that the restaurant had a policy of leading customers to believe that the 20 percent “event fee” was a gratuity paid to servers.
Dolce said customers would sometimes ask servers about the 20 percent fee.
“We’ve been instructed to not only be misleading to customers, we’ve actually been instructed to lie to customers,” Dolce said.
“These customers are going to one of the best restaurants, they expect that the people waiting on them all night are going to be compensated fairly and they expect that 20 percent charge is a gratuity that’s going to them,” said Ian Hayes Esq. Creighton, Johnsen & Giroux.
The lawyer for Tempo released the following statement ..
“We not only categorically deny each and every allegation, we are deeply dismayed by the servers’ attorney’s unprofessional tactics of trying to force a quick settlement by threatening to go to the press. Our records and witnesses will absolutely prove their claims to be false. All tips and gratuities were always distributed to the employees in accordance with the law. We are outraged by these false allegations, and we look forward to the truth coming out in this matter.”