Since the recession we've heard more and more about restaurants adding automatic gratuity for parties much smaller than six but an automatic gratuity for brown people? At an Indian restaurant? That's new to us. But that is exactly what a new lawsuit is claiming the Forest Hills outpost of the chain Baluchi's does. In papers filed in Brooklyn yesterday [PDF] Abe Shah and Hemang Virani, who are of Pakistani and Indian descent respectively, claim that on May 12 they were charged an 18 percent gratuity without their permission. When they complained to a manager they were told that the restaurant routinely adds on the extra money to "Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi customers" bills because "they never tip." And then things got violent!

Shah and Virani were so upset by this "blatant discrimination" on behalf of management that they paid their bill, minus the gratuity, and left the restaurant...only to be followed outside by the manager and another employee. Once outside three more employees appeared from behind the restaurant and the quintet began to harass the pair over their lack of tipping, becoming "increasingly loud and aggressive" and using racial slurs, according to the complaint. Finally the "verbal assault escalated to physical violence" when one of the men spat on Shah and punched him the face. After some more scuffling knocked her to the ground, Virani dialed 911 and filed police reports. The pair were later taken to a nearby hospital where Shah was diagnosed with a facial contusion and extremely high blood pressure.

The duo are seeking compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney's costs. Nobody is currently answering the phone at the Forest Hills Baluchi's and our calls to the company's corporate offices have yet to be returned. Now, we know lots of waiters who would like to force their customers to tip (especially those with EU passports) but this, if true, is ridiculous!