Former employees of the Rusty Scupper restaurant, which closed its Inner Harbor site for renovation last month and fired most of its workers, have filed a lawsuit saying the restaurant broke federal labor law by dismissing them without notice.
The suit claims that Select Restaurants Inc., the Cleveland-based company that owns the restaurant, violated the Worker Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act. The act requires companies with 100 or more workers to give 60 days' notice before firing 50 or more full-time workers.
The restaurant fired an estimated 75 to 100 full-time workers, 17 of whom are plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed by the Towson law firm of Janofsky and Truhe.
The workers are asking for class-action status, and lawyer Paul Marone said the majority of those fired support the civil action.
"We think it's very clear-cut," Mr. Marone said of the workers' claims.
Workers described being summoned to a Jan. 10 meeting and learning they would be fired Jan. 15. Restaurant managers said they could reapply for their jobs when the Rusty Scupper reopens in May after a $1.5 million renovation.
Officials of Select Restaurants Inc. and Lance Johnson, the company's Cleveland-based attorney, did not return telephone calls yesterday.
Last month, Mr. Johnson sent a letter to Janofsky and Truhe saying the restaurant did not have a sufficient number of full-time workers for the law to apply.
"Our investigation has revealed there were more than 100," Mr. Marone said.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, asks for back pay and benefits, plus a $500 penalty for each day the company is found in violation of the law.