Wahlburgers might have good burgers, but their Coney Island location is in a bit of heat — and we’re not talking about the warm, NYC weather. Five former employees are suing the chain.
The five employees allege that restaurant management regularly denied them wages. According to the lawsuit, Wahlburgers in Coney Island didn’t pay employees for all of their hours, stiffed them on overtime and pocketed their tips. The restaurant even cheated employees out of a $3,000 tip they received from a cast party that Donnie Wahlberg organized in March.
Things got even more shady when the restaurant set up an illegal tip pool. The pool forced workers to give their tips to non-tipped kitchen staff.
Apparently, Donnie Wahlberg was aware of these issues the whole time! In August, one of the former employees told Donnie that “there was a lot going on at the restaurant that he needed to know about.” His response? “I know.”
Not cool, Donnie!
The Wahlberg brothers weren’t named as defendants in the lawsuit and the restaurant is not a franchise. It’s owned by the main restaurant company.
In a statement, Wahlburgers addressed the issue. A spokesperson for the company said, “Wahlburgers is all about family, and treating people fairly and with respect is at the heart of our brand. Since this situation came to light today, we’ve been working with Coney Burgers to better understand the circumstances and help bring this matter to resolution.”
The lawsuit is seeking class action status and demanding back wages and unspecified money damages.
Wahlburgers launched in 2011 with a location just outside of Boston. The chain of restaurants is owned by chef Paul Wahlberg and his actor brothers Mark Wahlberg and Donnie Wahlburg. It’s also the subject of an eponymous reality show on A&E.
Wahlburgers is currently looking into the lawsuit allegations.