Lawsuits brought by several employees of popular Avenue A restaurant Babu Ji have led to the closure of the restaurant for the foreseeable future. The two lawsuits—filed in as many years as the restaurant has been open—have both centered on wage theft accusations against owners Jessi and Jennifer Singh, Eater reports, with new allegations about verbal abuse tacked on to a recent amendment of the second lawsuit, which was filed in September of last year.
According to the suits, employees routinely worked between 42 and 60 hours per week and never received the commensurate time and a half overtime pay for said hours over 40. Instead, employees were allegedly "compensated a flat rate of $600 per week, regardless of the amount of hours they worked." Further, ownership is accused of not distributing credit card tips to employees and "routinely pocket[ing] cash tips" while also paying employees at tipped minimum wage, which is significantly less than the federal minimum wage.
To make matters worse, owner Jessi Singh has been accused of using abusive and threatening language toward employees who spoke up about the wage violations. He's quoted as allegedly using phrases including, "If you’re fucking my family I’m going to fuck you up. I’m going to fuck your family" and calling one employee a "sisterfucker" while threatening to countersue.
Eater uploaded the amended charges that were filed in February of this year, which bring a more serious case against the Singhs. To date, they've denied all wrongdoing despite paying out $95,000 in response to the first lawsuit, which was brought in July of 2016. We've reached out to a representative for the restaurant and we'll update if they have additional comment.
Joining other critics who went nuts for Babu Ji's food, our own Scott Lynch was impressed by the restaurant's "outstanding...Indian food ecstasy."