Hospitality Update - December 2011, No. 4

by Fisher Phillips
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In This Issue:

- The Future of Tip Credit – And The Businesses That Depend Upon It By J. Hagood Tighe and Karen Luchka (Columbia)

The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to decide what amounts to the future of tip credit for many businesses – particularly in the hospitality industry. In short, the issue is whether an employer can continue to pay tip credit employees on a tip credit basis if they spend more than 20% of their work time on duties that did not produce tips....

- OSHA Compliance For Restaurants By Howard Mavity (Atlanta)

Restaurants and their trade associations are justifiably proud of their food safety efforts as shown by the July 27, 2011 announcement by the National Restaurant Association celebrating over one million classes of restaurant industry training. But inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continue to turn up significant shortcomings in restaurant OSHA compliance – and these issues are not limited to the large institutional setting....

- Lawsuit Serves Up Lessons For Restaurateurs Employee Defection And Trade Secrets At Issue By Brent Cossrow and Risa Boerner (Philadelphia)

A decision issued this summer by a federal district court in New York provides important lessons for professionals in the food services and restaurant industry regarding employee defection and trade secrets issues.

The litigation arose out of a dispute between BLT Restaurant Group and its accomplished executive chef Laurent Tourondel. BLT was formed in 2004 and operated 18 restaurants across the United States and internationally. BLT hired Tourondel as its Executive Chef and incorporated Tourondel’s name and initials into the branding of the BLT restaurants, hence the acronym: Bistro Lourent Tourondel. One of the restaurants in the BLT family was BLT Burger.

On February 28, 2010, Tourondel left BLT. Shortly thereafter, he opened a new restaurant named “LT Burger.” BLT sued Tourondel, a colleague of his who left with him, and LT Burger, and alleged that the LT Burger menu copied the BLT menu “almost exactly” and was based on BLT’s confidential and proprietary information. BLT also claimed that LT Burger and Tourondel used the same proprietary recipes at LT Burger as were used at BLT Burger and that LT Burger misappropriated elements of BLT’s marketing strategy by promoting Tourondel through similar media as were used by BLT....

Please see full update below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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