Workers Promised Ownership in Venture Not Covered by FLSA

September 2009Articles Hospitality Law, Vol. 24 No. 9
In Godoy v. Restaurant Opportunity Center of New York, Inc. (ROC-NY), the court found that a group of restaurant workers, several of whom were formerly employed by Windows of the World, a restaurant that was destroyed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, were not covered "employees" because they had entered into an agreement with ROC-NY to become co-owners and share in the risks of owning a business. The court held that the workers were not protected by the FLSA and granted ROC-NY's motion to dismiss the wage and hour, breach of contract and fraud claims. ROC-NY is a nonprofit corporation affiliated with the Hotel and Restaurant Employees Union, also known as HERE, and purports to advocate on behalf of restaurant workers in New York City.