Coney Island’s Wahlburgers Sued For Wage Theft & Other Labor Violations


(Photo: Wahlburgers Coney Island / Facebook)

The Wahlburgers franchise, owned by actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg and their brother Paul, has recently been sued for wage theft and violating state and federal labor laws at its Coney Island location.

The suit, which was filed on August 18, says the franchise’s Coney Island location — which opened in 2015 and is the subject of the A&E series “Wahlburgers” — paid employees for significantly fewer hours than they actually worked; forced workers to unlawfully pool tips with non-tipped employees in the kitchen; and didn’t pay full time-and-a-half for overtime.

Employees frequently complained to the managers of the Burger restaurant, but to no avail, according to the lawsuit. Wahlburgers didn’t even pay employees for coming to mandatory meetings, a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

After a special event held by the cast of “Blue Blood,” starring Donnie Wahlberg, at the Coney Island Wahlburgers, the restaurant did not pay the employees a $3,000 tip that was left, according to the suit.

The restaurant failed to give all employees accurate and complete wage statements every year and made illegal deductions to worker’s checks for customer walk-outs and other overhead expenses. Wahlburgers in Coney Island didn’t keep an accurate record of hours worked, wages paid, or tips made, according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiffs in the case are identified as Shakeiya Burnett, a former server at Wahlburgers in Coney Island for six months, Vanessa Morales, who worked as a server there in approximately the same time as Burnett, Richard Serpica, who worked as a bartender there for three months, and Henry Foster, a former line cook who worked there for four months.

“Wahlburgers is all about family, and treating people fairly and with respect is at the heart of our brand,” Wahlburgers said in a statement to The Wrap. “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.”

The suit does not name the Wahlbergs themselves, but names seven defendants including Wahlburgers Franchising LLC, Coney Island Burgers LLC, and franchisee John Cestare.

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