17 Sep Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Group of Orange County Bars and Restaurants for Unpaid Wages
On July 15, 2021, a class action lawsuit was initiated against various restaurant and bar establishments owned or operated by Mario Marovic alleging wage claims for:
- Failure to Pay Minimum Wages.
- Failure to Pay Overtime and Double Time Compensation;
- Failure to Provide Meal Periods;
- Failure to Provide Rest Periods;
- Failure to Indemnify or Reimburse Business Expenses;
- Failure to Provide Accurate Itemized Wage Statements;
- Waiting Time Penalties; and
- Unfair Competition and Unlawful Business Practices.
The lawsuit was filed in the Superior Court of California, County of Orange, and is captioned Nicole Wheat v. Mario Marovic, et. al., Case No: 30-2021-01210986-CU-OE-CXC. A copy of the complaint can be accessed here.
The class action lawsuit seeks to certify a class defined as:
“All current and former non-exempt employees who work or worked for Lounge Group, Inc., The Balboa, LLC, Malarkey’s Irish Pub, Inc., Orange Plaza Square, LLC, The Stag Bar, Inc., Muldoon’s Pub, LLC, Oceanfront Deli, Inc., Blackie’s By The Sea, LLC, Orange Circle Lounge, Inc., Newport Taco, LLC, Peninsula Restaurant Group, Inc., Newport Oceanfront, LLC, Cold Brew, LLC, Mariner’s Restaurant, LLC, 100 North, LLC, Fullerton Lounge, Inc., Helmsman Ale House, Malarky’s Irish Pub, Stag Bar, Dory Deli, Muldoon’s Irish Pub, Wild Goose Tavern, Playa Mesa, The Country Club, Blackie’s By The Sea, The District Lounge Old Town Orange, Matador Cantina, 2j’s Lounge, Super Panga Taqueria, and/or Mario Marovic during the time-period of July 15, 2017 to the present.”
This class action lawsuit concerns numerous failures to compensate non-exempt employees with overtime and/or double compensation for work exceeding eight (8) hours per day and/or forty (40) hours per week, as well as systemic meal and rest break violations. The lawsuit alleges that Mario Marovic owns and/or operates various restaurant/bar establishments throughout the County of Orange. In an effort to circumvent the protections mandated under both the California Labor Code and applicable Industrial Wage Orders, the lawsuit alleges that Mario Marovic has concocted an elaborate scheme whereby he creates numerous business entities that employ non-exempt restaurant/bar employees to work at various restaurant/bar establishments. Each non-exempt employee is required to sign a meal break waiver for each entity and works less than five (5) hours a day per entity. At the end of their 5-hour shift, each employee is then required to travel to another restaurant/bar establishment that is operated under a separate business entity to work an additional five (5) hours. Thus, members of the class work shifts exceeding eight (8) hours a day and/or forty (40) hours a week without overtime or double time compensation, and without being provided with statutorily required meal or rest breaks. But since each employee receive their payroll checks under the name of each separate entity, Mario Marovic makes it appear that each employee has worked no more than five (5) hours per day despite having in fact worked more than eight (8) hours per day, and thereby not paying his employees overtime compensation.
The class action lawsuit also alleges that under Mario Marovic’s unlawful business practices, the working conditions are artificially created to be such that non-exempt employees, could never take an uninterrupted meal or rest period. Under the guise of an illegal and invalid meal break waiver, non-exempt employees are denied their right to meal periods as mandated under the California Labor Code and applicable Wage Orders, when they work in excess of five (5) hours per shift, per entity, but less than six (6) hours.
Based on these allegations, this class action lawsuit seeks to recover unpaid wages, premium wages for missed meal and rest breaks, and other statutory penalties. In addition to this class action lawsuit, a claim under the California Private Attorney General Act has been submitted to the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency seeking civil penalties for these Labor Code violations.
If you would like more information about this class action lawsuit, contact Rolando J. Gutierrez at (213) 613-0500 or at [email protected].