BWI restaurant workers file lawsuit over wages

Three restaurant workers at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport have filed a collective action lawsuit that accuses the operator of five airport restaurants of failing to pay minimum and overtime wages.

The federal lawsuit, filed Oct. 11 in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, alleged Aero Service Group Inc. had a policy of paying hourly workers two separate paychecks for the same pay period and failing to pay overtime for more than 40 hours worked in a week.

The lawsuit said employees must attend mandatory "cleaning parties" a couple of times a year for no pay. And the restaurant operator pays tipped employees below the applicable minimum wage and fails to pay overtime wages, the lawsuit said. The complaint seeks unpaid wages and damages.

Cheng Lor, president and founder of ASG, who also is named as a defendant, said Thursday the company plans to investigate the allegations. The Saint Louis Park, Minn.-based company owns and operates the DuClaw Brewing Co., Zona Mexicana, two Villa Fresh Italian Kitchens and Sky Azure eateries at BWI as well as restaurants at other airports.

"This is our first knowledge of the issues that they have claimed," Lor said. "Our employees are so important to us. They're our most valuable resource. So I'm really disappointed in the sense that the employees nor the attorney had ever communicated these issues to us prior to filing this lawsuit."

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