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- Restaurateur Josh Henderson (Kiki Ramen, Quality Athletics), who just sold three restaurants to Renee Erickson’s group, is paying $1 million to settle claims that he deprived his employees of legally mandated breaks and obscured the way an automatic 20-percent service charge was distributed to staff, which could have major repercussions for other restaurants who’ve automated tipping. Henderson denied wrongdoing but declined to take the lawsuit, filed on behalf of more than 600 employees, to trial.
- With Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office threatening a lawsuit against fast-food chains’ practice of holding workers down with “no-poach” contracts, and with attorneys general in 11 other states looking into the policy, seven chains have volunteered to eliminate the policy. The “no-poach” rules prevent workers from moving to different restaurants within the same company, thus keeping wages low by eliminating competitive pay. Arby’s, Auntie Anne’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Carl’s Jr., Cinnabon, Jimmy John’s, and McDonald’s are the chains dropping the policy.
- Columbia City Ale House employee Miguel Martinez was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents last week as he left the restaurant; he’s being held in Tacoma. A statement from ICE’s public affairs officer Carissa Cutrell said Martinez is facing his ninth deportation and is in the U.S. illegally. But Columbia City Ale House owner Jeff Eagan said Martinez has a Green Card and has worked legally at the restaurant for a year. Eagan and his son, Brandon, said restaurant employees are currently taking care of Martinez’s children, 6 and 10 years old.
- Angela Stowell, partner and CEO of Ethan Stowell Restaurants, named for her husband, is moving on: As of October 16, she’s the new CEO of nonprofit Farestart, which owns Maslow’s and five other restaurants and cafes and offers food service job training to people struggling with poverty, addiction, homelessness, or a criminal record. “Farestart is such an incredible organization that not only provides job training and life skills, but offers people a chance to find success and put themselves and their families on the path out of poverty,” Stowell said in a release.