A waiter at the popular Park Plaza Diner has accused his former bosses of paying him a miserly wage of just $0.74 to $1.41 per hour for seven years.
Waiter George Haritopoulos filed a class action suit against the diner last week — though so far, he’s the only staffer who has come forward with the claim of being stiffed of “proper minimum wages, overtime compensation and other earned wages,” according to the court papers.
The suit states that the restaurant’s owners never paid the minimum wage, which was $5.15 per hour when Haritopoulos, a Greek immigrant, began working at the diner in 2002 — though it was $4.65 per hour for waiters and other workers who can expect to increase their earnings from tips.
Those gratuities enabled Haritopolous to survive, his lawyer, Brian Schaffer told The Brooklyn Paper.
The family-run eatery on Cadman Plaza West — a major hangout for local politicians and the Court Street establishment — says that the charges were just cooked up by the unhappy former employee, who was taken off the schedule in June.
“We do things here by the book. We’ve never had anything to hide,” said Demetrius Likourentzos, the chef and co-owner of diner started by his father Peter in 1983. “We followed the minimum-wage laws.”
Likourentzos added that there are some employees who have been with the restaurant “since day one,” proof, he said, that workers are treated well.
He also claimed that the diner has paperwork to prove that Haritopolous was not exploited.
“He has a pay stub,” Likourentzos said. “When the time comes, we can show it and it’ll be over in a heartbeat.”
Whether Haritopoulos was exploited or not, his paperwork did take a gratuitous bite out of his former bosses, slamming the eatery for “feeding New York’s criminal defendants and infamous mobsters, such as Vincent ‘The Chin’ Gigante and Peter, Gene and John Gotti.”
The wiseguys ate in the diner during their various trials in the federal court that is across the street from the diner.
©2009 Community News Group
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