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Former servers accuse Nobu group of shaving tips

NEW YORK Two former servers of New York City’s Nobu restaurants have filed a lawsuit alleging that the high-profile eateries forced employees to share tips with management and also failed to pay overtime.

The lawsuit, which was filed Aug. 2 in New York Southern Federal District Court, seeks unspecified damages for the employees of Nobu, Nobu Next Door and Nobu 57. The Nobu chain includes 11 U.S. locations and eight international ones. The three New York properties are partly owned by actor Robert DeNiro and restaurateur Drew Nieporent, who is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Carolyn Richmond, the attorney representing Nobu, told the Associated Press that the restaurants are in full compliance with all state and federal wage and hour laws and would vigorously defend the litigation.

In the lawsuit, former servers Alisa Agofonova and Aaron Pou claim that they were forced to share their tips with restaurant management, a violation of state law, and that the restaurants failed to pay employees overtime. Pou worked at Nobu from 2001 to 2006. Agofonova worked at Nobu 57 from 2006 until March of this year.

Pou and Agofonova reportedly are seeking class-action status for the lawsuit so other past and present employees could join in the litigation without risking their employment or reputations.

An attorney for Pou and Agofonova told AP that the lawsuit was one of about a dozed he had filed in the past year alleging unfair wage practices by Manhattan restaurants.

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