Patsy's Dishwasher Sues Restaurant Over Dickensian Work Conditions

A former dishwasher at the Patsy's on East 60th Street is suing the restaurant after working there for three years in conditions that his class-action lawsuit claims "can only be described as indentured servitude."

The Post reports that the plaintiff, Rafael Bernitt, claims that he worked 10 hours a day, six days a week in "some of the most deplorable conditions in this, or any other, city." He toiled "between the coal burning ovens and the sinks, in stifling heat, with almost no ventilation, and in a puddle of hot water which constantly leaked from the pasta preparation area."

Bernitt goes on to claim that in addition to washing dishes, he had to clean the kitchen and bathrooms, repair equipment, carry boxes of food, and shovel coal into the pizza oven. For all of this, he claims he earned $330 to $350 a week.

Bernitt, who was fired in January, is suing Patsy's corporate parent, Arista Associates. The company owns six locations of the pizzeria, as well as three Dean's restaurants and three Angelo's pizzerias.The Patsy's website touts its "old-world pizza" and references the good old days of 1906. If this lawsuit is any indication, its treatment of its employees may be just about as dated.


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