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Employees file lawsuit against restaurant group after mass closures | News

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Employees file lawsuit against restaurant group after mass closures
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ATLANTA -- More than seventy employees of restaurants including Noche, Smash, and Prime have filed a federal lawsuit against the Here To Serve Restaurant Group after their sudden closure Tuesday.

The lawsuit alleges three counts against Here To Serve, Oasis Outsourcing, Thomas Catherall, and Leigh Catherall:

  • Failure to pay minimum wage and overtime
  • Breach of contract 
  • Worker adjustment and retaining notification 

"Because of the sudden and unannounced closing of its various restaurants in the Atlanta area on October 5, 2015, a closure that was foreseeable to its owners and managers," the lawsuit says the restaurant group failed to provide up to 60 days notice to its employees. 

On Thursday night the restaurant began handing out partial paychecks to some of the one thousand employees affected.

"We filed the lawsuit yesterday and now these people are being paid today. We don’t think that’s a coincidence," Kessler said.

Even if full checks eventually go out, Kessler says the lawsuit will not be withdrawn because the restaurant failed to give sixty days notice of the closure.  That, he says, could mean they have been deprived of future earnings.

“The intent is make sure people are paid what they are entitled to," he said.

Ten Here To Serve restaurants did not open for business Tuesday. Popular restaurants in the group include Prime, Strip, Noche, Twist, Smash Kitchen, Coast Seafood, and Shucks Oyster and Wine Bar. Employees told 11Alive News they had no information leading up to the closures and that promises to make payroll haven't been fulfilled.  

Court documents show Simon Proprieties sued the restaurateur when the ownership changed as part of the owner’s divorce settlement.

Requests for comment made by 11Alive to the Here to Serve were not returned on Thursday.

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