Court Rejects 99 Restaurants' Attempt to Force Individual Arbitrations

On January 13, 2014, Judge William Young denied a motion filed by 99 Restaurants, Inc., in which it asked the court to stay an arbitration that we had filed on behalf of its wait staff employees, and to order that the arbitration not proceed on a class basis. We filed that case under 99 Restaurants' "Alternative Dispute Resolution" program, claiming that the wait staff at its restaurants are required to share their tips with dishwashers in violation of a state law that protects employees' tips. 99 Restaurants then filed a motion in the federal District Court for Massachusetts, arguing that the arbitration should only be allowed to proceed on behalf of the employee who filed the case, not on behalf of a class of all wait staff employees who had also been affected by the improper tip-out policy. Judge Young rejected that argument, ruling, in effect, that the arbitrator, not the court, would need to decide whether the case could proceed on a class basis.