CHICAGO (CBS)–A class-action lawsuit seeking $30 million has been filed against 17 Chicago bars, which are alleged to have withheld tips from servers and failed to pay minimum wage, according to court documents.
The bars named in the lawsuit are among the hottest in Chicago, including the West Loop’s “Federales,” Lakeview’s Kirkwood Bar & Grill, Gaslight in Lincoln Park and several River North hotspots including Highline and Fremont.
The law firm representing servers and other bar staff in the lawsuit says the bars failed to give bartenders and waiters all of the tips paid by customers and also failed to pay staff the required minimum hourly wage.
The complaint alleges violations of wage payment laws, minimum wage laws, conspiracy and fraud. The lawsuit seeks payment of all unpaid tips and wages, which is said to be estimated at $30 million.
The defendants named in the lawsuit are all under the management umbrella of an operations company called “Four Corners” enterprise, according to the lawsuit.
In court documents, the defendants claim management withheld their paychecks under the claim that those wages would be used toward taxes.
In addition, the plaintiffs accuse the bar owners of inflating the amount of take-home cash tips on their pay stubs.
The plaintiff named in the suit is a bartender at Benchmark, a popular bar in Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood.
At the end of his shift, he would calculate his tips, but those amounts were less than the numbers reflected on his tax returns, he alleges.
Chicago law firm Zimmerman Law Offices is representing the plaintiffs.
CBS 2 reached out to Four Corners. It said it has not seen the lawsuit and has no comment.