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Per Se to pay $500,000 settlement after withholding tips from workers

The Attorney General is cracking down on one of NYC’s ritziest restaurants. Thomas Keller’s Per Se, which charges $310 per person for its tasting menu (second only to Masa’s $450 menu), has agreed to pay $500,000 after allegedly stiffing its workers, according to Gothamist.

Investigators found that a 20 percent service charge added to the bill of private diners was not given to servers, despite being described by the restaurant as gratuity.

Restaurants cannot withhold any kind of money deemed to be a gratuity, according to the AG.

“In an unintentional oversight, Per Se, unaware of a new state regulation, did not update the description of the operational charge in its private dining event agreement during a 21-month period in 2011 and 2012,” a spokesperson for Per Se told Gothamist. “Nearly three years ago, in September 2012, Per Se modified this contract language at its own initiative and has been in compliance since that time.”