NY: Invitation to Avoiding Employment-Related Liabilities in the Restaurant, Club and Food Service Industry; ADA and Other Public Accommodation Issues

Yale Club of New York50 Vanderbilt Avenue
New York, NY 10017
(212) 716-2100

Recent court filings evidence that the hospitality industry is now clearly targeted by unions, Government agencies and Plaintiffs' lawyers, who know that if they win discrimination or wage hour suits the defendant employer pays all the employees' legal fees:

  • One restaurant chain paid over 8 million dollars to settle a discrimination claim.
  • One plaintiff's firm filed major class actions against eight top tier New York restaurants and catering establishments seeking double damages for hundreds of servers claiming wage hour violations under Federal and New York State wage laws.
  • One restaurant recently paid $2.2 million to settle claims for racial, national origin, and sexual harassment and retaliation.
  • Another restaurant group found itself facing a big corporate law firm representing its employees in a wage hour dispute and paid $588,000 to its wait staff for mishandling tips and improperly paying overtime.
  • Corporate campaigns by UNITE HERE, a union in the food service industry, are accelerating.
  • Restaurant Opportunity Center and other immigrant advocacy groups are orchestrating demonstrations and legal attacks on Restaurants to advance minority staff.

Federal and State Wage and Hour Laws are complex and often hard to understand. Even sophisticated employers have fallen victim to costly mistakes.

Join us for 3.5 hours of CLE credit as Epstein Becker Green presents a program covering these challenges to the hospitality industry on February 18, 2009 at the Yale Club of New York. The focus will be on positive steps employers can take to strengthen policies and practices. Operators can protect themselves by taking proactive steps to minimize their risks from exposure.

Our presenters include attorneys with decades of experience representing clients, including restaurants, chains, clubs and other hospitality industry employers.

Program Agenda

8:00 AM Continental Breakfast

8:30 AM Keynote Speaker: Mark Trapp

9:00 AM What Rights Do the Employers Have When Unions Organize the Workers
Presenters: Mark Trapp and Evan Spelfogel

  • What to expect from the New Congress and Presidency
    (How the Employee Free Choice Act will aid Union Organizing)
  • What are the Positive Steps Employers Must Take Even Before a Union Knocks?
  • Dealing with Union Corporate Campaigns

9:45 AM Wage and Hour Litigation: Compliance Wins Lawsuits
Presenters: Douglas Weiner and Michael McGahan

  • Records are your friends:

    (1) Accurate records defeat exaggerated claims
    (2) Notice to employees will validate your pay practices
    a) tip credit:
    b) fluctuating work week
    (3) Use employee handbooks to state policies and defeat class certification
  • Calculating proper overtime:
    (1) Exemptions — no overtime
    (2) Salaried non exempt — ½ time
    (3) Hourly — breaks, meals, pre and post shift work
  • Tip credits and service charges:
    (1) Federal and New York state requirements differ
    (2) Tips and which staff are entitled to them?
    (3) Do not let the World Yacht case sink your enterprise

10:45 AM Anti Discrimination Laws
Presenters: Peter M. Panken and Lauri Rasnick

  • New and proposed statutory amendments to Federal and State Anti Discrimination Laws and how they will affect the industry Protected Classes
  • Retaliation - The New Boon for Plaintiffs' Counsel who can lose the discrimination claim but win big on retaliation causes of action
  • The Best Defenses: Paper trails; Dealing proactively with potential problems; training management; Handling protesters and potential plaintiffs.
11:30 AM Americans with Disabilities Act — Accessibility
Presenter: Frank C. Morris, Jr.

  • Key Proposed Changes to the Current ADA Regulations and Their Impact (e.g., employee work areas, restrooms, sales and service counters, service animals, power personal mobility devices)
  • Accessibility Enforcement Under the Obama Administration
  • Removing the Bulls Eye
    • Self Audits Under Privilege
    • The Right Polices & Training
    • Avoiding Renovation Remorse

12:00 PM Recent Employment Trends in the Restaurant and Hospitality Industry
Luncheon Speaker: George P. Sape

We hope you will join us for this timely and informative briefing.