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Fraudulent Restauranteurs/Chefs


TheUnknownCook
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I would like to hear of other vocational cooks, who have been cheated by fraudulent restaurateurs or chefs, whom you have worked for, but cheated you of your back wages. I have worked for several fraudulent restaurateurs or chefs, who refused to pay me my back wages. I have met or heard of other cooks or chefs who have also been cheated out of their wages. I would like to hear of your incidents. I cannot help you recover your lost back wages, but I hope that this thread will shed some light on this vocation. Some people have said that, the cooking trade is legalized slavery.

The reason I am starting this thread, is to provoke those thinking of wasting a fortune attending an expensive culinary school, to consider all aspects of this trade, the glamorous, and the seamy, seedy side. [Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential was an entertaining read.] It is not all "peaches and cream." Many of us vocational cooks live in poverty. Not all of us cooks, have lucrative contracts to make toothpaste commercials, yelling, "Bam!," nor have cookware, cutlery, product lines, with our first names on them. Tell of your story...

Buttercup: You mock my pain.

Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

-- The Princess Bride

If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy -- Red Green

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My late son Philip was working a fill-in job in NYC some five years ago and at the end of the week he was told by the "chef" that it was not working out and since it was a try-out he would not be paid. He checked out the web site for he NY State Department of Labor. Within one week of making a complaint he was paid. So - Don't allow yourself to be ripped off.

The Philip Mahl Community teaching kitchen is now open. Check it out. "Philip Mahl Memorial Kitchen" on Facebook. Website coming soon.

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Excuse the typographical error in the title.

Yes, it happens in the trade continually, regardless of being on, or off the books.

Buttercup: You mock my pain.

Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

-- The Princess Bride

If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy -- Red Green

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Funny you mention this. As it stands right now, i'm in the middle of a legal thing with my previous job. The owner decided to just stop paying employees because we confronted him about not being able to handle his job. 2 weeks into this incident, the entire staff walked out on him, because obviously this was beyond ridiculous.

While it's true there is the board of labor, and massive amounts of lawyers who love to tackle these things, it all takes time. You only get your back pay quickly if the person decides to go along with it, as the labor board is next to useless. At best they can give whoever owes you money a 'polite reminder', and possibly consult the attorney general for advice, but that's it. Any for of action if they don't feel like cooperating is through court, and that takes time, and depending on what happens, money.

Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

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MMMmmmm. Well maybe in the state of Maine the labour board is useless.

Here, in La-la -land (B.C. Canada) the Labour Board is a venom-dripping monster, not only does it have the power to garnishee employer's bank accounts, it does so regularily and quickly. The employee gets his salary, quickly, AND all of it, the Labour Board doesn't take a cut. I believe the state of Calif. is similiar.

Matter of fact, both the Labour Board and "Worksafe" (Workers comp) in B.C. are VERY skewed towards favouring the employee. It's a poorly kept secret that many complaints lodged against employers are fraudulent, and the system works so that the Employer must prove his innocence at HIS cost, and in the case of "absolution", has no recourse to recover any lost time or money, no to extract any acknowledgement from the complaintant that the allegation was false.

Time cards and video camereas are not recognized by the Labour Board here, an employee's record of hours kept trumps the Employer's record.

With all this in mind, the current trend in B.C. is to pay higher than average, but to treat the employee as a contractor.

And then there's the little issue of employee theft.........

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  • 2 weeks later...

My culinary school specifically stated that externships were paid and assigned in their course catalog. The paperwork for externships between the school and the restaurant even stated that students were to be paid. In the end, 2/3 or more of my class were forced into unpaid internships and the school freely allowed the restaurants to change the terms of the contract to allow it.

And yes, the guy I ended up working for was a hack and a fraud. He claimed to use origin specific chocolates, but it was all Cargill white box. He also claimed to use fresh ingredients when it was all pastes, extracts, and flavorants. Worst of all was his use of potassium sorbate, which is not disclosed on product labels or to resellers like Whole Foods.

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Here, in La-la -land (B.C. Canada) the Labour Board is a venom-dripping monster, not only does it have the power to garnishee employer's bank accounts, it does so regularily and quickly. The employee gets his salary, quickly, AND all of it, the Labour Board doesn't take a cut. I believe the state of Calif. is similiar.

Except that there is still the issue of some employees who are not going to take the legal high road... young workers, new citizens to BC with language challenges, people who really need that job, etc. The challenge is that some workers will not take the legal route to be paid, because the workers believe that they will be unfairly discriminated against by potential employers.

Karen Dar Woon

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Yes. There is always that challange. Yet every place I've worked in here in B.C. an in the last 10 years that I've been an employer, the majority of the employees consider it a "fringe benifit" or "some kind of a right" to lay fraudulent claims against the employer.

My record is stellar: 4 claims laid against me (in 10 years), all of them challanged and all of them overturned. In two such cases, the origainal case-worker who "investigated" the case could not/ would not be found. There is no opportunity to file for compensation--either for time or money. There is no opportunity for either the Gov't agenciy or the claimant to acknowledge that the claim was false--Fraudulent, to use the proper term.

Yes there will always be bad employers--AND there will always be bad employees. Neither group out-trumps the other.....

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If the resellers ever find out, your hack is gonna wish he was dead........

Oh trust me... what his employees have on him will destroy him very, very quickly.

I do admit it was satisfying watching him get his back end handed to him on Chopped in the first round. He was whining that the judges did not understand his culinary greatness. :rolleyes:

Dan

"Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea." --Pythagoras.

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Not being paid what you owe is quite common from what I've experienced throughout the years of cooking. Just this past weekend I was staging at a restaurant down in DC; upon talking with couple of the line cooks they informed me that they were not paid for OT. Quite shocked, I assumed their hourly would be a lot higher to compensate. Alas they did not, they made less than $15 an hour.

Now in this situation, they could either A. challenge the chef/HR and bring up the issue or B. go with it and don't say anything. Majority of the time cooks go for option B, they just do not want the hassle of confrontation.

In my experience, one of my previous employers were very late on payments, usually run 2-3 weeks late per check. Eventually the DoL (dept. of labor) was brought in and they shut the place down.

Personally I will always go for option A, it's your time and money your investing in the company and should be rightfully compensated for it.

Jim

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