Popular vegan restaurant owner sued by former employees, lawyers wanting case dismissed

Lawyers for the owner of a popular restaurant chain founded in Atlanta are responding after former employees filed a lawsuit for what they claim are unpaid wages.

According to the response filed in federal court, lawyers are denying any wrongdoing and have filed motions for the lawsuit to be dismissed.

But Channel 2′s Michael Seiden learned four former employees aren’t backing down and plan on taking on the successful restaurant entrepreneur in court.

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Pinky Cole is the creator and owner of the successful restaurant chain Slutty Vegan, which was featured last year on Channel 2′s People 2 People.

She is also the owner of Bar Vegan, a second restaurant concept inside of Ponce City Market in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward neighborhood.

Four former employees of Bar Vegan are suing Cole for what they claim are unpaid wages.

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“A waiter can be paid $2.13 an hour or someone else who receives tips from patrons instead of the $7.25 that’s mandated by federal minimum wage law but that’s only if they receive tips from the customer and only if they keep 100% of the tips,” said Travis Foust, a partner with Parks, Chesin & Walbert.

But in this case, lawyers for the plaintiffs claim the restaurant paid tipped employees $2.13 per hour while requiring those workers to give up 25% of their tips to the owners and managers of the restaurant.

This lawsuit comes less than a year after Cole raised $25 million in funding, valuing her brand at $100 million.

Channel 2 Action News reached out to Cole’s lawyers and PR team. Seiden also stopped by the restaurant, but so far we haven’t gotten a response.

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