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Chickie's & Pete's to Face 'Tip Skimming' Lawsuit

Local sports bar could have to face up to 300 plaintiffs in a case alleging they did not fairly pay workers.

The Eagles rough 2012 season isn't the only thing to complain about in a local sports bar. Bartenders, waiters and waitresses of Chickie's & Pete's claim the famed chain was skimming money off the staffs' wages, according to a report in Metro.

"The suit originally claimed that Chickie's & Pete's skirted minimum wage requirements by forcing bartenders and waitstaff to pay two to four percent of their gross sales back to the restaurant in cash, a fee workers allegedly called the 'Pete Tax' in reference to owner Pete Ciarrocchi," said the article.

The plantiffs in the case, originally started by bartender Anthony LaPlante, may soon grow to over 300. 

"As more people find out about their rights, they want to join up on the case," plaintiffs' attorney Louis Pechman of Berke-Weiss & Pechman said to Metro. "And we're happy to have more participation."

The plantiffs have since ammended LaPlante's original case, adding to it that they were often required to pay out-of-pocket if their tips didn't cover the Pete Tax.

"The complaint also claims that those employees who didn't make enough to cover the tip-out were told by managers to 'tap MAC,' or withdraw the money from their personal bank accounts," reported Metro.

The "taxes" were collected weekly, according to the report, by local managers and then picked up by a representative from corporate.

A spokesman for Chickie's & Pete's, Kevin Feeley, said that owner Pete Ciarrocchi, issued the following statement to Metro:

"These allegations are, first of all, that – just allegations at this point," Feeley said in his statement. "But what Pete has said from the start is, 'Look, we're certainly looking into this and trying to determine if there's a factual basis for the allegations.' If it turns out there are things that need to be changed, Pete's always going to err on the side of trying to do the right thing for his employees."

Other allegations in the case, according to Metro, included:

  • Forcing employees to clean carpeted sections with brooms, thusly forcing them to purchase their own vaccum cleaners
  • Forcing staff to cover any "dine-and-dash" customers' bills
  • Requiring staff to wear company T-shirts and deducting amounts from paychecks to cover cost
  • Paying flat $15 shift payments for shifts lasting more than 10 hours

Chickie's & Pete's opened a restaurant and sports bar location in Lower Provience Township in late 2011. The Audubon bar is housed in the former "Nintey-Nine" restaurant at 675 Shannondell Road.

Paul O'Leary January 22, 2013 at 10:32 PM
If this is true the place ought to be shut down. This is an awful way to treat people.

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