Jessica Biel has been accused of withholding nearly half a million in tips from employees at her kid-friendly Los Angeles restaurant.
Nine employees at Au Fudge have filed a lawsuit against Biel and her four business partners, claiming that they never received tips that the restaurant charged clients for private events.
The group of disgruntled employees describe themselves as ‘young adults new to the workforce and new to Los Angeles’ who ‘were ill-prepared to deal with the violations of their rights in the workplace.’
Jessica Biel and her business partners have been accused of withholding nearly half a million in tips from employees at their kid-friendly Los Angeles restaurant. The actress pictured above in 2015
Nine employees at Au Fudge in L.A. say the restaurant’s owners withheld tips from private events
According to court documents, obtained by the Blast, Au Fudge charged a 22 per cent gratuity to clients who held private events at the West Hollywood eatery – but employees say that money was never passed down to them.
The lawsuit claims that the ‘owners blamed the “glitch” on converting the private event gratuities to a single manager,’ but they say they still didn’t get the tips even after that manager was fired.
Alexandra Desage, the former Director of Events at Au Fudge, gave a deposition and stated that every private event customer that she spoke with believed that the tip would go to the staff. Additionally, she says she ‘cannot remember a time’ where a client paid additional tip, directly to the staff.
Biel is married to actor and musician Justin Timberlake. They have a son named Silas together. The couple and their son pictured above in New York City last month
Desage says she confronted co-owner Jon Rollo, saying she believed it was ‘against the law for Au Fudge’s customers to pay gratuity and then have the restaurant fail to transfer the gratuity to employees who had direct contact with the customers’.
She said he responded by saying: ‘I don’t think you understand. Don’t worry about it.’
Another employee, Jamie Aronson, said she questioned a general manager about the practice and was met with a similar response.
She said the GM told her ‘[not to] worry about it. It’s all good. The customers are far more likely to be OK with 20 plus per cent if they think that amount is going to the employees.’
Neither Aronson or Desage are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Additionally, the group says that they are owed $31,549 from state-mandated break periods which their bosses refused to let them take.
The group is seeking an additional $1million in punitive damages.
In addition to Biel, Au Fudge is owned by four others including: Barry’s Bootcamp CEO Joey Gonzalez; Kim Muller, author of the children’s book Au Fudge; stylist Estee Stanley; and Monica Saunders-Weinberg, the daughter of the Westfield Shopping Centers founder.
The restaurant was opened in March 2016 and sells itself as a restaurant friendly to both parents and their kids. There’s a marketplace that sells baked goods to go and Honest Company products, and a monitored children’s play area.