Per Se, one of the nation’s most successful fine-dining restaurants, has agreed to pay current and former catering servers $500,000 to settle charges by the New York attorney general that it violated wage and hour laws four years ago.
The restaurant called the infractions unintentional. It explained in a statement to the media that the servers had received their full payments, at a rate that can top $116,000 per year. However, a portion of a fee levied on catering charges had been used to defray operating expenses. New York state law specifies that a service charge be channeled in full to servers unless the restaurant alerts the customer otherwise.
The alleged violations were committed in 2011, after the service charge law went into effect. Per Se did not update its disclosures in catering contracts for a year, a technical violation.