Miami restaurateur Michael Schwartz faces federal lawsuit alleging employee mistreatment

Chef Michael Schwartz celebrates 10 years serving up tastiness in the Design District.

Word around Miami’s federal courthouse is that a lawsuit against restaurateur Michael Schwartz filed by several of his former employees is heating up, with motions flying and more on the way as the case moves toward a trial set to begin next year.

The suit, filed in October, accuses Schwartz and his operations director, Charles Bell, of withholding wages, overtime pay and tips, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Plaintiffs Andres Duque and Roberto Abreu are former tipped employees of Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (130 NE 40th St.) who worked at Schwartz’s Miami Design District flagship until October.

An attempt to contact Robert Brock, the attorney representing the plaintiffs, was not successful. Schwartz declined to address the situation on the record: “It is the restaurant’s policy not to comment on pending litigation,” he said.

Miami Herald food editor Evan S. Benn contributed to this report.