Tom Douglas restaurant workers to get $2.4M settlement

SEATTLE (AP) — The restaurant empire of Seattle chef Tom Douglas will pay $2.4 million to more than 1,000 current and former employees after settling a class-action lawsuit.

The Seattle Times reports the suit against the operator of Dahlia Lounge, Palace Kitchen, Brave Horse Tavern and more than a dozen other local eateries accused the restaurants of not disclosing how much of a 20% service fee billed to customers went to the service workers and of not providing substantial rest and meal breaks.

When Seattle increased its minimum wage from $9.19 to $15 in 2015, some restaurants instituted a "surcharge" or "service fee" they claimed would offset the burden of paying their service workers $15. Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen implemented a service fee of 20% of a customer's bill across its restaurants.

Tom Douglas Seattle Kitchen denied any wrongdoing in the settlement.