NEWARK — A New Brunswick bar that caters to the Rutgers sports crowd was hit with a federal lawsuit Wednesday, filed by a former employee who claims he and co-workers were paid sub-minimum wages or made to clean bathrooms and mop floors when they were hired to be waiting on tables.
The lawsuit filed by James Gerard accuses World of Beer of violating federal and state wage and hour laws by paying employees as little as $2.13-an-hour by factoring in a "tip credit" to their overall payout without informing them ahead of time.
Gerard filed the lawsuit as a class action in the hopes of representing other World of Beers employees — many of them Rutgers students — whose rights were violated, the lawsuit claims.
A manager for World of Beer could not immediately be reached for comment.
The lawsuit claims their bosses did not give employees formal notice when they were hired about how they would apply the tip credit, which would allow them to be paid less than the minimum wage. And, it claims, World of Beer did not fully compensate its employees if the amount they received in tips and wages did not rise to the level of the full minimum wage.
And, the lawsuit claims, the bar's waiters and waitresses had to perform duties that would typically not involve a tip.
"Defendants required the waitstaff to perform uncompensated, non-tipped work at the end of each and every night at World Beer, including, but not limited to, cleaning bathrooms, taking out garbage, cleaning windows and mopping floors," the lawsuit says.
It is seeking unpaid wages as well as overtime pay denied employees, the lawsuit says.
"We hope this case helps some Rutgers students and other workers obtain the workplace justice they deserve," said Mitchell Schley, Gerard's attorney.
World of Beer is part of a nationwide chain of sports bars with some 70 locations across the country, many in college towns like New Brunswick.
Gerard was a server, bartender and product manager at World of Beer from August 2012 through May 2015, the lawsuit says.
During the year he worked as a server and bartender Gerard was paid $2.13-an-hour for the first 40 hours of work every week and was not paid for hours he worked beyond that, the lawsuit says.
He was paid a weekly salary of $400 when he took the job as product manager in August 2014, which was less than minimum wage, the lawsuit adds.