LANCASTER, N.Y., Sept. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Arnold Palmer Golf Management, a business name used by Century Golf Partners, L.P. has been pocketing tips and service charges intended for its service staff in violation of New York law, according to a complaint recently filed in Niagara County by the Wage Theft Division of Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP.
According to the Palmergolf.com website maintained by defendants, "Arnold Palmer Golf Management operates golf courses in the true spirit of Arnold Palmer – with pride, consideration and honor." However, according to the complaint the company tells patrons of the Arnold Palmer clubs that its tipping policy includes a 20% service charge automatically added to the banquet bill. What it doesn't tell those patrons is that the Arnold Palmer clubs do not pass those service charges on to the hardworking waiters and bartenders providing services at these banquets. Instead, the Arnold Palmer clubs keep the money.
Plaintiffs in the case are a former bartender and former server at the Fox Valley Club located in Lancaster, New York. The club is owned and operated by Arnold Palmer Golf Management. Plaintiffs seek to recover unpaid gratuities for themselves and all servers and bartenders who worked catered events at the Arnold Palmer clubs in New York catered during the last six years. Those clubs include: the Fox Valley Club; the Briarwood Country Club in Hamburg, New York; and the Tan Tara Golf Club in North Tonawanda, New York.
"New York law is clear that under these circumstances the service charges are gratuities and they must be paid to the service staff," noted Adam Gonnelli, head of the Faruqi firm's Wage Theft Division. "For every catered event held at the Arnold Palmer clubs, Arnold Palmer Golf Management is collecting thousands of dollars in gratuities, which belong to the bartenders and servers. While this may not amount to a lot of money for a large company like Arnold Palmer Golf Management, it can really mean a lot to the service workers."
Sally Greenberg, Executive Director of the National Consumers League in Washington, D.C., said of the case, "The National Consumers League applauds efforts to ensure that workers get the compensation they are entitled to. The allegations that this company is charging customers a service charge and then pocketing the cash that should be going to the workers is outrageous. If true, it rips off both workers and customers, and is utterly dishonest. We look forward to seeing the outcome of this case."
Daisy Chung, the Executive Director of the Restaurant Opportunities Center of NY, a non-profit dedicated to improving working conditions in New York's restaurant industry, noted that "Unfortunately wage theft is not uncommon in the restaurant industry. At least 59% of restaurant workers in NYC have experienced wage theft. Our goal is to help restaurant workers organize so that they can stop such injustices in their workplaces."
About Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP is a national law firm which represents investors and individuals in class action litigation. The firm is focused on providing exemplary legal services in complex litigation.
The Wage Theft Division vindicates the rights of workers who are not properly paid by their employers. The practice includes fighting tip stealing, failure to pay overtime, working off-the-clock and misclassification of employees as managers or independent contractors. Working on the case are Adam Gonnelli, the Head of the Wage Theft Division, and Christopher Marlborough, recently named a "rising star" by Super Lawyers.
For more information, please contact Adam Gonnelli at 212.983.9330 or [email protected].