Wahlburgers Hit With Class-Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Wage Theft

Former employees claim that they were stiffed by Mark Wahlberg’s burger joint

mark wahlberg wahlburgers
Getty Images

Sounds like there might be something unsavory going on at the Coney Island location of Wahlburgers.

Wahlburgers Franchising has been slapped with a class-action lawsuit by a group of former employees who claim that the Coney Island branch stiffed workers out of pay in a variety of ways.

The restaurant chain founded by “Boogie Nights” actor Mark Wahlberg and his brothers Donnie and Paul is at the center of the A&E reality series “Wahlburgers.”

According to the suit, the first Wahlburgers franchise in New York opened in September 2015 in Coney Island, and since then has been “rampant with wage theft and violations of federal and state labor law.”

Among the alleged offenses claimed in the suit filed Thursday in federal court in New York: Paying servers and other employees “for significantly fewer hours than they actually worked”; failing to pay time-and-a-half for overtime; and imposing “an unlawful tip pool upon the tipped employees that required them to pay a hare of their gratuities to non-tipped kitchen employees.”

The suit claims that “approximately five to ten hours of compensable time” were regularly shaved from employees’ weekly time, such as by being punched out of the time-keeping system for meal times that they didn’t take.

Employees ere also regularly instructed to work without punching in, the complaint alleges.

In a statement to TheWrap, a Wahlburgers spokesperson said that the company plans to “bring this matter to a resolution.”

“Wahlburgers is all about family, and treating people fairly and with respect is at the heart of our brand,” Wahlburgers said in a statement. “Since this situation came to light today, we’ve been working with [Wahlburgers franchisee] Coney Burgers to better understand the circumstances and help bring this matter to resolution.”

Alleging numerous violations of New York Labor Law and other counts, the suit is seeking the wages and tips that the employees claim they were deprived of.

Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.