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Cleveland Scene, Unpaid Rumor Night Club Employees File Class-Action Lawsuit

pdf article / full article from clevescene.com

By Sam Allard on Tue, Feb 11, 2014 at 1:43 PM

In last week's print edition, Scene printed a story about former employees at W. 6th's Rumor Night Club who alleged that they hadn't been paid wages and tips for months. After walking out in November, 2013, and repeatedly attempting to claim their earnings from Rumor's four-man ownership team, they still have not been compensated.

Yesterday, a local law firm representing a former Rumor employee filed a "Collective Action" lawsuit against Rumor and its ownership for violating the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and Ohio Minimum Fair Wage Standards Act. The plaintiff, Marquee Montgomery, doesn't know exactly how many employees were affected but estimates that the number probably exceeds 50.

Forty-six employees signed onto a document that Scene obtained which requested upwards of $560,000 in wages and tips.

The attorney representing the plaintiff in this case, Anthony Lazzaro, commented on the online version of Scene's original story and an employee subsequently reached out to him.

In a phone interview, Lazzaro said that the wage violations in this case are clear. He and his co-counsel filed in both Federal and state court, noting that Ohio's minimum wage laws are particularly strong. Violators are required to pay "triple damages" for unpaid wages.

"Seven ninety-five an hour becomes more like 23 an hour," Lazzaro said.

To further illustrate, an employee working twenty hours a week at minimum wage would ordinarily be paid $159. Under Ohio law, that becomes $477 after damages are assessed. Right now, Lazzaro and his co-counsel are trying to get the court to certify the collective action, under which the owners would be required to turn over all names and numbers of unpaid employees, so they'd have an opportunity to sign on to the class-action suit. Lazzaro said that late or partial payments also fail to satisfy minimum-wage requirements.

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