Shula's Cuts ties with Roberts Brothers over employee complaints

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by Diana Zoga

KMOV.com

Posted on December 19, 2011 at 8:44 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 23 at 12:57 PM

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Tarps now cover the remaining signs at the new Shula's 347 Grill in downtown St. Louis after employees reported that the restaurant was closing on Thursday. 

Some employees said they were told the restaurant would re-open under a new name after the Shula's company asked the owner of the franchise, The Roberts Brothers, to stop using its name.

Robert Zarco, a franchise attorney representing Shula's Steak Houses in this matter, said the corporate office was unhappy with complaints that the franchise owners weren't paying employees on time.

"What Shula's did is it took action to protect its brand and also help the employees by making sure they understood that any conduct was occurring within that franchisees business as it related to employees not being paid were done without Shula's knowledge and would not be endorsed or condoned by Shula's in any way, shape or form," said Zarco.

The Shula's 347 Grill opened in the late Spring under the Roberts Company ownership. 
Employees at another Roberts Company business, the Roberts Mayfair Hotel, have also complained to News 4 about consistently late paychecks.  Two employees tell News 4 they were last paid on November 30th.  They were supposed to be paid on the 15th and 30th of every month. 

The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations can fine a company for paying employees 16 days late.  A spokesperson on Monday said that the state was monitoring this situation, but could not give details until an investigation is complete.

A call to the Roberts Company was not returned on Monday afternoon or the last Thursday.

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