BUSINESS
02/14/2013 12:02 pm ET Updated Feb 19, 2013

Ruggles' Former Workers Refuse Free Pizzas During Protest Over $15,000 In Unpaid Tips

Apparently two pizzas isn't worth the same as $15,000 of unpaid tips.

A Houston restaurant tried to appease a mob of chef Bruce Molzan's former employees by offering them two free pizzas, the Houston Press reports.

The former workers, who were protesting outside Molzan's newest venture over claims he's taken more than two years from pay them, weren't satisfied by the pies. And it wasn’t long before protesters began chanting "No food; pay me!" in response.

If the allegations prove true, Molzan would be one of many bosses accused of holding back pay -- lawsuits over unpaid wages and tips were 32 percent higher in 2012 than in 2008.

Corner Table, Molzan’s new restaurant, said it offered the peace pizzas because it didn’t want the scene to turn "ugly.” They might have thought of that before hiring Molzan, who apparently has a long track record of fighting with employees over unpaid wages, according to a separate report in The Houston Chronicle. He said more than a year ago that he would pay workers of Ruggles the $15,000 he owed them, but the former employees say they still haven't gotten the money.

The restaurant industry appears to be one sector where these sorts of lawsuits are especially common. Recently, a San Francisco restaurant was forced to pay back employees over half a million dollars, not even half of what Crowne Plaza had to settle for in an unpaid tip class action lawsuit last February. A class-action lawsuit is also in the works accusing Olive Garden owner Darden Restaurants of forcing employees to work off the clock.

Find out what else Country Table had to say at The Houston Press.

(Hat tip: The Consumerist)

Correction: A previous version of this post mistakenly identified the restaurant that offered the pizzas as Country Table. The name of the restaurant is Corner Table.

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