Employees take local café owner to court over unpaid wages

The former owner of Lotus Organic café appeared in Teton County Circuit Court to a bench trial after three of her former employees filed wage claims against her company, Planet Palate LLC. The court found that Planet Palate LLC owes nearly $4,000 to the three former employees. Despite the court’s decision – the three former employees will likely never see the money that they are owed.

The former owner admitted in court that the three employees who filed claims are not the only ones that her company owes money to. It was expressed that the other 50 employees who were employed at the Lotus Organic café did not receive pay for their last three weeks of work.

Lotus Organic Cafe which was operated under Planet Palate LLC closed their doors in the summer of 2018. It was stated that none of the employees were paid for their last three weeks of work. The Teton County Deputy Attorney expressed that he was unaware of any assets the former owner may have but would explore to see. The former owner filed bankruptcy in October, listing over 130 creditors that are owed.

According to the deputy attorney, he stated, “Planet Palate owes the former employees.” When he goes searching for assets for the three gentleman who were not paid, he will not be seeking her personal property. The assets must come from Planet Palate, but according to a past lawsuit, another company received the company’s assets after they were not paid for the renovations they had completed.

The former owner told the Judge that if she was able to pay, she would. She expressed it was something she financially could not pay and that went for all 50 employees, not just the three who filed the lawsuit. She also stated that her partner has significant federal problems now, and family and friends were helping her out financially.

The judge did not impose civil fines, as he said she would pay the employees if she could. After what the former owner stated about not having money the court was convinced she was not unwillingly holding wages, she simply could not pay them.