Two pastry cooks who worked for the Woodberry Kitchen restaurant in Baltimore are suing the owners, alleging they weren't paid for overtime.
Christine Giegerich and Amelia Steinman, filed their lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Friday. Both stopped working at Woodberry earlier this year.
The employees said Woodberry used a "shift pay" system that violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Maryland Wage and Hour Law.
The employees were required to work a minimum of 10 hours per day in order to earn their daily pay, which ranged from $75 to $130. If they worked fewer than 10 hours, they would not be paid at all, they contend in the lawsuit.
The employees also said they were required to work five days per week, which pushed their total work week to 50 hours or more, but they were not paid overtime.
"Through this unlawful scheme, Defendants willfully and intentionally evaded the payment of wages owed to Plaintiffs and others," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit was filed against Watershed LLC, the parent company of Baltimore restaurants Woodberry Kitchen in Woodberry, Parts & Labor in Remington, Artifact Coffee in Hampden and the now-shuttered Shoo-Fly in Belvedere Square. The lawsuit also names owners Spike and Amy Gjerde.
Spike Gjerde did not respond immediately to a request for comment Friday afternoon.
He was honored last month with a James Beard Award for best chef in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Gjerdes' restaurants are known for their farm-to-table menus.
The pastry cooks allege that other employees also were harmed by the "shift pay" system and are seeking class-action status. They are seeking back pay with interest, as well as attorneys' fees.