"The Sinner" star Jessica Biel and her business partners at Los Angeles' Au Fudge restaurant have been served with a lawsuit by the restaurant's wait staff, which accused the actress and other owners of stealing their tips.
In a suit filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, nine current and former staffers at the kid-focused restaurant say that management did not receive any of the 22 percent gratuity the restaurant tacked on when hosting private events, which a former restaurant manager said in a deposition Au Fudge's business was "heavily based on."
Restaurant co-ownersJon Rollo, Estee Stanley, Monica Saunders-Weinberg, Joey Gonzalez and Kim Muller are also named in the suit.
"Plaintiffs were told they were entitled to receive compensatory gratuities directly from customers including those customers who booked large private parties or events, (such as Amazon, Netflix and Fox Studios)," the employees claim in their complaint.
"Plaintiffs were informed that said private-party gratuities were negotiated between the private party customers and the Defendants and that said gratuities would be distributed in full to Plaintiffs. In truth, Defendants charged hundreds of thousands of dollars in gratuities to private-party customers and converted said gratuities to themselves in order to pad their own pockets and deprive plaintiffs their just compensation in violation of law."
According to the complaint, the employees claim Au Fudge's owners initially blamed a "glitch" in converting those private party gratuities to a single manager, who has since been terminated -- while the wait staff is yet to receive their tips from those events.
The employees are seeking $430,100 in tips from various events in addition to $31,459 in "missed rest breaks," as well as $1 million in punitive damages.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.