Salt Bae, who was recently blasted for his ‘unethical’ service charge, has reportedly been forced to shell out $230,000 to four ex-employees who accused him of ‘conning them’ out of tips.
The staff reportedly worked for the famous chef, whose real name is Nesret Gökçe, at his Manhattan restaurant, Nurs-Et, in 2019, and allege he sacked them when they complained about how the gratuity was being distributed.
Apparently, they brought a wrongful termination lawsuit against their former boss, accusing him of having an ‘authoritarian, dictatorial attitude,’ and saying he ‘doesn’t care about local laws,’ according to the Daily News.
At the time, one of the staff members said: “Customers reasonably believed 100 percent of the gratuity was being remitted to the waiters and other serving staff.”
They also claimed that the chef ‘humiliated’ them on several occasions and likened himself to Tony Montana.
He reportedly failed to tell the servers how much had been given in tips and ‘retained’ some of the money for himself. They allege he took three percent of the total amount of tips.
The waiters said they received weekly cheques of up to $2,500, which included gratuity, while the restaurant would rake in around $130,000 on a busy night.
As well as the money, Salt Bae was also reportedly ordered to post a notice about workers’ rights in the restaurant.
At the time of the incident, his lawyer Christy Reuter said: “The restaurants are equally committed to his vision while ensuring that all team members are provided with the necessary tools to be successful and that they are treated fairly and paid well.
“A number of tipped employee members of the team earn in excess of $100,000 annually, and management applauds their achievements.
“Any allegations of unfair labour practices by Nusret or management are categorically denied.”
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