McNamee Hosea News & Press


Employer Criticized For Its Employment Agreement

The popularity of reality television shows has extended to many segments of the industry, from Wall Street to aspiring fashion designers to chefs. Maryland readers may recall the Kitchen Nightmares show, hosted by chef Gordon Ramsay. The nationally televised show follows Chef Ramsay as he visits struggling restaurants across America, offering advice that may help keep the businesses in the black.

Viewers may recall one particularly notorious restaurant called Amy’s Baking Company. The restaurant owners displayed strained relationships with their owners, calling one a poisonous, little viper. According to a recent article, labor relations at the restaurant don’t appear to have improved much.

Specifically, the article described a particularly detailed, and perhaps onerous, employment agreement. According to some commentators, the restaurant owners have shifted part of the operational costs of the restaurant industry to their employees.

For example, one of the 20 clauses requires employees to cover the cost of any broken dishes or burned food via payroll deductions. Another clause mandates that all tips must be pooled. Yet another provision requires employees to agree to work all weekends and holidays, as well as a $250 penalty for any no show on those days. The employment agreement also contains a non-compete clause, whereby employees must agree to not work for any competitor -- presumably defined as another restaurant within a 50-mile radius -- for an entire year following the employee’s termination.

Although readers might question why any employee would want to work for that particular restaurant, employment law attorneys might agree that employers and employees are free to define the parameters of the employment relationship as they choose -- provided those clauses are legal. An attorney might be able to answer questions about the legality of particular clauses.

Source:, “Amy’s Baking Company makes employees sign 20-item contract