" ... [Tom Colicchio] celebrity chef and TV personality is being sued for violating federal and state labor laws by allegedly paying workers below minimum wage, docking tips and denying them overtime at his 'witchcraft' sandwich-shop chain." - Rich Calder, "'Top Chef' Tom Colicchio gets skewered in new labor lawsuit," in The New York Post, January 21, 2015. Here is the article.
Plaintiffs Lourdes Rivera and Emma Rivera contend mean-spirited things - or least they sound that way to us working stiffs. For example, allegedly, the amount of compensation was illegal. The tip jar was tampered with. It was decreed as off-the-clock to change in and out of work uniforms. Employees had to pay the cleaning bill to have the uniforms cleaned and pressed (When I was in loss prevention I too had to pick up the tab.)
But worst of all and it could be the worst charge against the defendants (Colicchio's business partners are also being sued) is the contention by Lourdes that she was video-taped by a co-worker when she was changing in the locker room. She complained. And, she alleged that the brass told her not to inform the police. They then allegedly destroyed the tape. As every lawyer knows that is a very serious crime.
The issue we in communications have is this: Will the suspicion that Colicchio is a "bad boss" hurt his celebrity brand and his chain of 15 witchcraft sandwich shops? There are no definite answer to that. Some brandnames can weather a public relations storm. Some can't. Usually their public relations representatives advise that to adopt a wait-and-see attitude. Some contend had Eliot Spitzer just hung in during the escort-worker scandal, he could have remained New York governor.