Friday, September 05, 2008

Unwelcome Home

The day after I arrived back in New York I high-tailed it in to Times Square to get a first hand look at the possibility that the restaurant and/or club would be re-opening any time soon. The news was not good. There were various back office employees walking around, as were my boss and the events manager as well as one of the promoters and that's pretty much it.

Not only has nobody been paid in 3 weeks but some of the people who did get paychecks waited too long to put them in to the bank and as a result, many people had paychecks bounce, which in turn caused the checks that were written against them to bounce as well. Some people lost over $1500. I was fortunate in that my "final" check cleared my account, but I am still owed for three weeks pay that I doubt I will recover.

Before you ask, I have already filed a claim with unemployment, and on Monday I will be contacting the Labor Board to find out what rights, if any, I have to try and receive those checks. Whether or not either one of those things pans out in the future, I have no income right now. If unemployment comes through, it won't be until the end of next week or later, and it won't be enough to live on.

Fortunately, I did manage to pay off some of my outstanding credit card bills, so money for food and such won't be a problem in the foreseeable future, but I don't want to max my credit and get behind in rent. That is exactly where I was a year and a half ago, and it took me this long just to carve out some breathing room.

It seems that the owners intend to re-open the venue at some point. I assume they don't believe that anyone will be able to wait around for however long that takes and they will need to re-hire and train a whole new staff, but I wouldn't know that because through all of this, no one below the level of the Operations Manager has received a single e-mail or phone call of any kind letting us know what the status of the venue is. We weren't fired, we were simply ignored. And not paid. They didn't even have their accounting department or a spokesperson or a lawyer issue an apology or a statement. Nothing.

Several people have e-mailed or texted me looking for guidance or information and I've been forced to simply commiserate with them. I don't know what is going on and quite frankly, I no longer care.

I've purposely avoided writing at length about work unless it was such a juicy story or some celebrity gossip that I couldn't help myself. But one of the things I didn't talk about was how unprofessional and inexperienced the owners have been. They know next to nothing about running a restaurant and nightclub and even less about the basic responsibilities that come with being an employer, And that has become glaringly, sickeningly obvious now, when the Spotlight (HA!) shines squarely on them. The lack of communication, the complete disregard for their employees and the obligations they have to pay them (and me) what they are owed, has left me disappointed and very angry. So angry I want nothing to do with them anymore.

It would take a heartfelt apology, a complete change in leadership and a sizable check, in short, it would take a miracle for me to go back there no matter the outcome of all their self-induced problems. And I don't see a miracle on the horizon.

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