Shaun Zinck Jul. 30, 2015, 1:17pm

NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - Eight individuals are suing a New York catering service, alleging it withheld tips of employees even though it charged venues gratuities.

Ashley Fernandez, Paul O'Leary, Doreen O'Leary, Karen Mahlke, Francesa Santiago, Aldos Santos, Jose Santos and Omar Rodriguez filed the lawsuit on July 7 in U.S. District Court Southern District of New York against Restaurant Payserve of America, and Starr Restaurants Catering Group, doing business as Stephen Starr Events.

The lawsuit alleges Stephen Starr Events charged venues such as Carnegie Hall, the New York Historical Society and the Rubin Museum of Art gratuities, and labeled them as “service charge,” personnel fee,” or “staffing charge.”

The suit also says Stephen Starr Events instructed employees to refuse gratuities offered by guests, and told them to tell the guests the host had provided the tip.  Stephen Starr kept the entire amount of the gratuities, and didn't give them to the staff, the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs seek class status for those who served as captains, servers, and/or bartenders from February 2014 to the present. They also seek more than $5 million in damages, plus court costs. They are represented by attorneys D. Maimon Kirschenbaum and Denise A. Schulman of Joseph & Kirschenbaum in New York City.

U.S. District Court Southern District of New York case number 1:15-cv-05264.

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