Twenty people including five former employees of Caffe Roma protested inside the Beverly Hills restaurant Friday, July 13, presenting allegations of sexual harassment, tip theft, failure to pay overtime, denial of meal and rest breaks, untimely payments, and lack of transparency regarding sick days to chef and owner, Agostino Sciandri. Protest organizers and restaurant advocacy group Restaurant Opportunities Center of Los Angeles hand-delivered the complaint and gave owners one week to respond before resorting to legal action and more protests.
Eater spoke with ROC-LA lead organizer Manuel Villanueva who shared the long list of alleged problems surrounding Caffe Roma. At the Friday protest, a former employee read the petition aloud to the lone manager on site named Michaele. The complaint outlined specific concerns by former staff, and former employee Linda Rigel spoke after the protest.
In a Facebook video, Rigel said, “I believe we got their attention. For too long, they’ve been abusing workers, breaking the law, and treating us like animals, and that has to stop. When I see busboys being mistreated simply because they’re Mexicans, and when I hear them speaking in Italian, and I understand what they’re saying when calling them dogs and monkeys, that’s unacceptable.”
Rigel requested that owners change their policies. She continued, “We’re looking for humane conditions for people that work there.”
Villanueva gave the owners of Caffe Roma until Friday, July 20 to respond to the complaint. If no action is taken, the ROC-LA plans to sue. The Sciandri family owns Caffe Roma, and also runs Sortino Brentwood, the Juicy Bird, and both Toscanovas in Century City and Calabasas. Eater reached out to Caffe Roma, and received the following response, “The restaurant does not comment on threatened or pending litigation.”
Caffe Roma. 350 N Canon Drive, Beverly Hills CA