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Longbranch Café hit with lawsuit claiming café, manager withheld some workers' wages, tips


The Longbranch Coffee House is located at 100 E. Jackson St. in Carbondale.

CARBONDALE — The longtime favorite eatery Longbranch Café and its manager are being sued for unfair labor practices, including wage violations, according to a lawsuit filed by the The U.S. Secretary of Labor.

The suit was filed Jan. 15 in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District in Illinois against the café and its manager, Elaine Ramseyer Greenberg. The suit lists 32 individuals as the plaintiffs in the case.

The business is owned and operated by the Dayemi Organization Inc., which is associated with the Sufi religious community rooted in Union County.

Greenberg and Longbranch are represented by attorney Shari R. Rhode, of Carbondale, who declined to comment on the pending litigation.

The complaint alleges that Longbranch and Greenberg specifically did not pay employees proper minimum wage. Employees who serve and collect tips can legally be paid under minimum wage, but the complaint alleges that Greenberg improperly asked servers and baristas at the coffee house to pool tips with non-tip-earning employees like cooks and dishwashers.

The complaint also alleges that Greenberg, in her capacity as general manager of Longbranch, worked some employees longer than 40 hours in a work week without properly compensating for overtime pay — typically time and a half.

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“Defendants improperly computed overtime compensation based on tipped employees’ cash wages rather than their regular rates and failed to pay them one and one-half times their regular rates,” the complaint said.

The complaint alleges Longbranch failed to keep and maintain records of the amount of tips each employee received and did not accurately record the correct overtime premium rates and amounts of overtime compensation.

The complaint also states Greenberg did not accurately record an hourly rate of $7.25, instead of $5.00 (and later $5.55), for baristas and servers due to the invalidation of the tip pool did not maintain a complete set of time records for a period of two years. It is said these alleged bad actions took place beginning Feb. 6, 2018.

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The suit asks for compensation of unpaid wages be repaid to employees and for the café to amend its alleged bad labor practices.


On Twitter: @ismithreports


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