Class of Thai Restaurant Employees in New York City Win Certification

On August 29, 2018, federal Magistrate Judge Stewart D. Aaron granted conditional collective certification to a class of former restaurant employees, all of whom worked at now-closed Thai restaurants in Manhattan and claim they were not paid minimum wage or overtime.

The class, comprised of cashiers, delivery people, kitchen workers, and waiters who worked between February 2014 and December 2016, is bringing the suit against the owners of M-Thai, ThaiNY, Thai Rice, and Tom Yum on the grounds that the restaurants violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, as well as state labor law.

According to Judge Aaron, plaintiffs’ affidavits met the “modest showing that is required of [plaintiffs] at this preliminary stage: they were subjected to certain wage-and-hour practices at the defendants’ workplace and to the best of their knowledge, and on the basis of their observations, their experience was shared by members of the proposed class.”

The suit was filed in February 2017 by chef Phouviengsone Sysouvong and chef assistant, Paranee Sarikaputar, who alleged that the restaurants gave workers daily or weekly salaries instead of hourly rates, and that the amount employees received fell below minimum wage and didn’t account for overtime hours.

Counsel for plaintiffs echoed the sentiment that the workers were underpaid, commenting that “[a]lways, they work long hours and the restaurants always have a general policy not to pay them overtime.”

The legal team at Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah, LLP (“SFMS”) has significant experience litigating class action and employment matters. If you have any questions regarding this subject or this posting, please contact Nick Lussier ( or Chiharu Sekino ( We can also be reached toll-free at (866) 540-5505.

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Posses, Shayna. “NYC Thai Eateries’ Employees Get Collective Cert. In Pay Suit.” Law 360. Last modified on August 29, 2018.