Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has found himself in a kitchen nightmare after former employees of his Los Angeles eatery are suing him for what they say are unpaid wages.
Four former employees of The Fat Cow restaurant filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming, among other things, that they were forced to work grueling eight-hour shifts without a meal break. They’re also alleging that hourly employees weren’t always paid their minimum wage of $8 an hour and denied overtime pay.
The plaintiffs say they were not provided with proper documentation for their hours worked and their compensation.
“There were hand-written paychecks sometimes. There was … no accounting at all,” attorney Lauren Abrams, who is representing the group of former employees, said.
Ramsay, 46, has built an empire shouting expletives at aspiring chefs and struggling restaurant owners on reality-TV shows “Kitchen Nightmares” and “Hell’s Kitchen.” His fiery temper has contributed to his media appeal, but has also been the subject of much criticism.
“He makes a career off going into restaurants and telling them how to properly run their business,” said Lauren Benge, a former barista at The Fat Cow.
A representative for Ramsay acknowledged the issue but pointed to previous management. “We are aware there was a problem with previous management, which has since been changed, but this is totally unacceptable if any truth to it,” the representative told ABC News.
Ramsay, who earned $38 million last year, does not run day-to-day operations at The Fat Cow, which opened in September.
“I think there comes a certain responsibility when you have your name on an establishment. We were sold on the dream of working for a world-known chef,” Andrea Bourke, who was also a server at The Fat Cow, said.
Montinique Dever, a former hostess at The Fat Cow, said she doesn’t believe all the blame falls on the hot-tempered chef.
“Nothing was ever told to him,” she said. “We couldn’t tell him anything. He could not know anything.”