Miami waiter Eddie Santana is a restaurant rebel

South Miami Cuban restaurant Barrio Latino is bustling when a black 2010 Acura pulls up across the street. A lean, young man with caramel skin, a round nose, and spiky black hair steps onto the sidewalk. It's 8 p.m. — four hours until his 39th birthday — but Eddie Santana still looks like a doe-eyed Miami Dade College student.

In reality, he's anything but innocent.

Eddie leaves the car running and jogs across Sunset Drive. It's a Sunday in late November, and the eatery has been open only a couple of weeks. He's here to pick up $60 in wages for training as a waiter. When he steps through the door, however, owner Edwin Scheer comes tearing around the bar like a linebacker escaping a block. Neighboring restaurants have warned the short, stocky Cuban-American with a salt-and-pepper goatee about the would-be waiter's habit of suing his employers.

Eddie Santana stands outside Miller's Ale House on Miracle Mile. He was fired in February, shortly after filing a lawsuit against the restaurant.
Eddie Santana stands outside Miller's Ale House on Miracle Mile. He was fired in February, shortly after filing a lawsuit against the restaurant.
Just a few of the books Eddie has used to file his 31 lawsuits.
Just a few of the books Eddie has used to file his 31 lawsuits.

Location Info

Map

Miller's Ale House

101 Miracle Mile
Miami, FL 33134

Category: Breweries and Wineries

Region: Coral Gables/South Miami

Hillstone

201 Miracle Mile
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Coral Gables/South Miami

"Get out," Scheer says to Eddie, gripping him by the shoulder and guiding him toward the exit. "I told you not to come back here."

"Where's my paycheck?" Eddie shouts. "You owe me!"

In an instant, the two are out on the street. Customers look up from their ropa vieja and ceviche to see Santana and Scheer pressed chest to chest, spittle and obscenities flying. Suddenly, Santana turns and walks back to his car. He opens the passenger door and reaches under the seat. Then he sprints back across the road toward Scheer with his right hand low and to his side, as if holding a handgun.

Scheer bolts toward his restaurant. But before he can reach the door, something whizzes past his head and across the busy patio before exploding against the restaurant's hurricane-proof glass with a deafening boom. Hearing what they think is a gunshot, customers scream and hit the floor. Eddie gets back in his car and screeches off.

He doesn't make it very far. An off-duty police officer eating next door hears the bang and dials 911. Cops pull Eddie over a few blocks from Barrio Latino and arrest him on charges of assault with a "deadly missile," which turned out to be a water bottle.

The spat is far from over. Scheer made the mistake of messing with Miami's most infamous — and litigious — waiter. After posting bail, Santana hit Barrio Latino with a lawsuit alleging unpaid wages, false arrest, and false imprisonment. Even as he faces criminal charges, Santana is seeking tens of thousands from Scheer.

"He's going to have to pay for what happened," Eddie angrily says of the November incident. "I spent my birthday in jail for nothing. He deserves to go bankrupt paying me for what he did."

To fellow waiters, Eddie is an unlikely if not unlikable hero who calls out Miami restaurants on the hundreds of ways they steal from employees. He terms himself a "revolutionary." But to Scheer and countless other restaurant owners in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, he's a scam artist who does nothing but sue his employers.

The truth is that in the past nine years, Eddie has filed 30 lawsuits against companies — nearly all restaurants and bars — for everything from illegal tip pools to excessive uniform costs. He's netted $144,924.79 after attorney fees from 20 separate settlements. And from the nine suits still pending, he hopes to make another $100,000, if not more. The guy even sued his own brother.

But word has spread about Eddie, leaving him practically unemployable. And he might soon repeat the ten-month stint he did in the slammer several years ago. His biggest adversary might end up being himself.

"This guy's crazy," Scheer says of Eddie. "Actually, he's not crazy. He's fucking smart."


Eddie Santana is all smiles as he leaves Miller's Ale House in Coral Gables. It's a warm February afternoon, but he's swaddled in a black dress coat over slacks and a polo shirt with the Ale House logo. A sign outside the faux mom-and-pop pub says it doesn't open until Sunday, but Eddie can already smell another lawsuit cooking.

"They're not even open yet and they're already slipping up," he says gleefully as he and a New Times writer head west on Miracle Mile. "They make us go to shift meetings without letting us clock in first. That's unpaid labor. And they're forcing us to give part of our tips to people who shouldn't be getting any. You can't do that shit.

"The restaurant industry here in Miami is shady as hell," he continues. Eddie has just finished a full shift, but he's buzzing with manic energy. "Managers cut corners all the time. They make you pay for your uniform, which they're not supposed to do. They make you buy a new shirt, shoes, pants, a crumber, a bottle opener, even an apron. Then they undercount your hours and take your tips. All that is illegal. All of it."

A few minutes later, he enters Seasons 52, a fancy Gables bar and grill. He sits at an elegant wooden bar next to giant vats of organic, homemade grapefruit vodka and pages through a clownishly oversize menu.

"Eddie, didn't you sue this place?" New Times asks.

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My Voice Nation Help
70 comments
Gloria
Gloria

Hi Eddie, I need your help!How can I contact you?

Torance1
Torance1

My question is why the restaurant managers never checked his references, we have all Have had bad bosses or jobs we didn't like. The difference is most people get a different job. This guy is the reason that restaurants have to charge the prices they do. Once this scam is over for him, he will be the guy that slips on his own pepe in the men's room and sues

Janedoe
Janedoe

Restaurants are notorious for breaking wage laws, discrimination, harassment and retaliation. Too few people enforce their legal rights.

Employers have a legal obligation to know the laws that apply to their business, & should be trained to properly handle employee situations and issues. All of that guy's lawsuits does not even chip off a quarter of the amount of major violations that occur on a regular daily basis.

Moocow444
Moocow444

Esantana44 you suck!!!!!you suck!!!!!!!

For someone who doesn't care what other people think you sure are taking a lot of this personally & you should. I guess you tooo stupid to know why this peiece was even written. it was to show how much of a slime ball you are. Its certantly not to glorify your actions.....like i said your too stupid to pick up on tone of the article.

its because of stupid people like you that want to sue for any little thing that are putting viable companies out of business & PEOPLE OUT OF WORK.

I read this weeks ago and the only reason i came back was to see if you were still trying to defend your cruddy personality. I've been in the industry for over 15 years. Get a backbone, grow up & move on and let somebody who really wants a job get one.

please do all of us hard workers a favor and go fall off the face of the earth. Thanks :-)

hesstupid
hesstupid

this guy should be blacklisted everywhere. he's a total douche. he's not in the right. he's purposely going around provoking people so he finds some stupid thing to either fabricate or exaggerate and sues. this is why miami is turning into a piece of s**t, because of people like him.

farts
farts

dude, he sued his own brother. I understand helping the situation, but this guys a scum bag through and through.

Barryzito
Barryzito

It's curious to see how so many people don't see the positive side here - he's making managers think twice before they're ripping off their own staff. Sure, he may get rich in the process and that might be his only motivation, but he's in the right!

steven250
steven250

Being a waiter has to be one of the most stress full jobs.Working in the kitchen especially in a restaurant that brings in a lot of business is so much work that at the end of the day your physically and mentally exhausted. They make you work hard for that tip/salary

sousademiami
sousademiami

As someone who's worked in a So. Fla. restaurant in the past, whatever makes these scam artists afraid to pull this kind of crap on staff who work their ass off for $4/hr + tips is fine with me.

kinnery
kinnery

Everything you do in life is for personal gain and personal gain only

the bonus here is that it ALSO helps other people.

michaelpinto
michaelpinto

Taking tips from the wait staff is the lowest form of low -- those owners deserve Eddie!

steve250
steve250

I think he's doing a great job...bring restaurant owners to justice especially in Miami..so many shady business owners down here..you guys dont even know!

Franco
Franco

Waiters File Minimum Wage Lawsuit Against Hard Rock CafeJanuary 21, 20110 Two waiters at a Hard Rock Café in Florida have just filed a tip pooling lawsuit against the company, claiming Hard Rock didn’t pay them minimum wage. They are seeking class-action status for the case based on the number of potential servers affected. The waiters and waitresses assert that the “tip pooling” policy at the restaurant required servers and bartenders to share their tips with kitchen staff, denying them fair wages.

Black Dog
Black Dog

It is amazing that he can still walk without limping, ya 'know what I mean?

Meeple youuple
Meeple youuple

Meeple Youuple

there is no morality in business (or anywhere else in America, for that matter)The only assessment ever done is: While this action harm me financially?While this poorly made chair cause me to be sued?Referring to the DOL, the SEC or the EEOC is a JOKE. Our regulatory bodies have stood by while warned specifically of the likes of Bernie Madoff etc - and done NOTHING.

Whistle blower laws specifically allow for a portion of the damages to go to the whistle blower. For the customers who "end up paying more for a meal out"? Give me a fking break - I'd rather not eat any 'fight club clam chowder' (

j
j

eddie should be commended....go for the jugular eddie!!!!

don't hate the player, hate the game...fools!

JOEY
JOEY

Let’s take for example two national restaurant chains that my firm has recently filed EEOC complaints against; Houston’s (now Hillstone’s) and Seasons 52.

I have been a big fan of Houston’s ever since they opened their store in Coral Gables. However, over the last eight or nine years I have noticed that EVERY server is under 30. How on earth can that be? Well, after speaking with several very qualified over forty servers who have filled out applications and were interviewed, and after speaking with several former managers, I can say that in my opinion, Houston’s discriminates against over forty (40) server applicants. Why, I can only guess because they want to keep the staff young. Why do they need a young staff? To make people feel “good” about eating at Houston’s; “You don’t want some old person serving you, do you?” A few of the significant monetary benefits to the company might be:

1. Lower health and Workers’ Compensation insurance rates;2. Server staff is easier to control;3. Fewer employee lawsuits.

Remember, when you run a large corporation, the bottom line is what keeps you employed at the top.

If you would like more information about age discrimination, contact us. We are always available to answer questions to help keep you informed. If you have specific knowledge about either Houston’s or Seasons 52 we would like to speak with you too. Remember, we are all getting older and having the safety net of working in the restaurant business is nice; if you can get hired when you are over 40!

Some of our other age discrimination cases:

Wowies Sports Bar and GrillTarpon Bend Coral GablesMatteo’s RestaurantPosted by Lowell Kuvin, Esq. at 9:06 PM 0 comments Labels: ADEA AGE Wowies Sports Bar Tarpon Bend Matteo's Restaurant Discrimination Houston's Seasons 52 Restaurant law florida EEOC Thursday, January 6, 2011Are Tip Pools Legal In Florida?

I worked in the service industry for over 25 years before I went to law school to become “a server with a law degree.” During my 25 years I only worked in a tip pool very seldom, and I can tell you I always disliked it (Adel and Sharif). I firmly believe that tip pools are akin to communism; easy for the government/management to regulate but it strangles individual who strives to make more.

That being said, are they legal in Florida? The plain answer is, Yes. However, any participants in the tip pool must contribute their tips to the pool (Maitre D’s); they cannot just draw from it. Or, persons who share from the pool (Bussers, Food Runners) must have more than minimum contact with guests/customers. A service bartender in the kitchen who has no contact with guests cannot participate in tip sharing while a bartender who works the service bar in the dining room may participate.

ClintJCL
ClintJCL

Considering he won lawsuits in court, that means his employers were doing something illegal. The fact that you are mad at him for enforcing the law seems to indicate that you prefer criminal enterprises running in a way that breaks the law.

sexyjenny
sexyjenny

Too bad that an obviously very bright guy is squandering his God given gifts; he's clearly smart enough to do something useful with his life

MorrisEsq65
MorrisEsq65

Maryland Restaurant Lawyer Food, Beverage, and Restaurant Law in the Old Line StateSkip to contentHomeAbout Sean T. Morris ← Issues for Outdoor Patio Liquor LicensesMiami Waiter: Restaurant Workers’ Rights Crusader or Con Artist?Posted on March 9, 2011 by Sean T. Morris| Leave a comment The New Times of Miami has a fascinating story in this week’s issue about a South Florida waiter, Eddie Santana, who has made it a habit — a very lucrative habit — to sue restaurant owners for various infractions, mainly involving employment issues. Among the lawsuits he’s brought are cases alleging:

■Improper tip pooling (see my earlier post on this issue here);■Undercounting hours;■Failing to pay required wages for training and shift meetings;■Sexual harassment;■Retaliatory dismissal; and■Assault.Depending on who is asked, Santana is either a crusader for restaurant worker’s rights, or a con artist out for his own personal gain. As one waiter who knows Santana says:

“Eddie is on a rampage with these lawsuits; he’s on a mission,” [The waiter] says. “I can’t believe he’s doing this, sometimes. But then again, maybe he’s doing a public service by putting all these restaurants in check.”

Says another waiter who has worked with Santana:

“Personally, I think he’s [bleep]ing nuts, …. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you that Eddie is a great guy changing the restaurant world, because he’s not. He’s doing this for personal gain. He finds a reason for the restaurants to fire him; then he sues. He knows all the tip-offs and how to file for retaliation or discrimination.”

If you think this description of Santana’s tactics is less than charitable, consider this conclusion from that same waiter:

“That’s what these restaurants do: They break the law…. So you can always find something to catch them on.”

Ouch.

This story (which is great and which you should absolutely read in its entirety) should provide a cautionary tale to restaurant owners and managers everywhere. Maybe Eddie Santana himself is safely ensconced down in Florida, but others like him may be lurking and ready to pounce. The only way to steer clear of the dangers someone like him poses is to not give him any basis upon which to sue.

Henry
Henry

obviously the dude is shady as hell, but if restaurant owners and managers weren't equally shady or worse he wouldn't be able to do what he's doing and anybody who disagrees has never worked in a restaurant

zito
zito

It's curious to see how so many people don't see the positive side here - he's making managers think twice before they're ripping off their own staff. Sure, he may get rich in the process and that might be his only motivation, but he's in the right, isn't he

miamiwebdesign
miamiwebdesign

miami web design 1 day ago

I think it's justified, what he is doing is something that every employer should do..especially in Miami where everyone is cutting corners in the business.

Jared
Jared

Jaredswilliams 1 day ago

He actually isn't an immigrant, it says he was born in California. His parents are immigrants. If you're going to be racist, don't be ignorant. It just affirms what everyone thinks about ignorant racists.

Stan
Stan

Stan 7 hours ago

This guy is great. Interesting story.

Reading some of the previous comments reinforces my assessment that a great many Americans have no clue about living under rule of law. A good many of you should be deported to a place more to you liking. Somalia comes to mind, no reason rugged individualists who hate the law can't thrive there. Lol.

I hope Eddie continues to thrive while crushing these scumbags.

Jennifer
Jennifer

All you restaurant waiters and bartenders should google roussell vs brinker international(chilis) then scroll down to the 5th heading which says"Flsa class action defense cases-roussell v brinker international" go to the bottom of the page and click on the link"download pdf file" for the lawsuit that was filed by me and see what the charges were.I won this case and got $60,000.00.Eddie is right,it adds up after time(illegal tip out and skimming of your $4.23 an hour and not paying you for training or paying you $4.23 an hour during training whih is illegal.SO FIGHT BACK .

Vito
Vito

I don't know this guy Eddie but he seems like a guy who keeps it real.Man if somebody was messing with me or my money,you better believe I would be going after them.Now that I know my rights and some law because of Eddie,I'm going to sue some of my former and current employers and people who dare to ever touch me.Hey Eddie don't worry about some of these negative comments on here, they are just jealous or they probably know you and just never liked you,Just brush that stuff off.Like they say,the day that you should start worrying is the day people stop talking crap about you.Your obviously important if they are talking about you.I see you doing big things with a story like this like writing your own book,going on shows,being in the news and even being in a movie.Good luck man and keep your head up.

creativ43
creativ43

I have had the displeasure of working with this individuals on two separate occasions. Both times he was either terminated for not doing his job to set standards or he left for GREENER pastures. To use his quote "I will treat my employees with RESPECT and PAY them for there actual hours worked," he was a sub par employee that was more concerned about answering his cellphone and eating than doing his job . His other quote of "I would pay these employees above $7.25 an hour and not $4.23 an hour because I am no a CHEAP ASS like you," is quite funny because he has the pleasure of owning the title of CHEAP EDDY in many restaurant circles. Being in the restaurant industry, Eddie knows that a majority of servers, bartenders, etc make much more than that 4.23 he quoted. Most earn between $10-25ph, depending on restaurant and he knows that being in the biz so long. Good luck on your new adventure in another state, owning your own restaurant, and having staff of employees like yourself. Maybe you will get lucky and not be out sued.

Fuckit
Fuckit

This is so true, I have worked in so many restaurants in Miami and it is very shady. I have had to pay for uniforms and have had tips withheld, I should sue a few places too. This guy is smart, and restaurant owners and managers need to stop exploiting their employees.

Emiel
Emiel

ah, the American dream, work a day get paid for a month. perfect union material i would say, but you have to hold a job and pay dues to be in a union, so maybe not. funny this wouldn't fly in any other coutry, but here we are, the land of the abused and entitled. just sue your way to retirement, it beats working for a living. maybe it's time for a "career" change?

ghostwriter33156
ghostwriter33156

Why not use all that intelligence and inclination to being a douche and become a lawyer and actually work for a living? Just sayin....

Caeser_Palache
Caeser_Palache

Obviously, his father did not do that great of a job teaching him right from wrong. His temper is learned behavior, just like most animals. Hopefully, both children will not turn out like this guy and that gene skips a generation - propensity for violence and ignorance. Its the Charlie Sheen syndrome - never his fault. The "wrong place, wrong time" defense. If this guy really cared about the industry and how workers are treated, he would start some non-profit organization to help others and give back. But, like most narcissists, its all about himself.

Iknoweverything
Iknoweverything

wow. this guy is a total peice of shit. i've been in restaurants 10 years now. yeah, most places do shady stuff. and they deserve to get sued for it. but the stunts he's pulling just makes him an asshole. it'd be different if he was smart about it and sued for improper stuff. but the harassment and the starting of fights..... that just shows he's no better than those he's suing. what we have here is a trash fight. both parties are wrong and disgusting for it. but one just always has the upper hand. it's no different than gang members and cops.

Asilentsecret
Asilentsecret

If restaurants were unionized they wouldn't need Eddy. What do you prefer, Eddies all around Miami suing while non-Eddies get ripped off, or a unionized restaurant where everyone follows the rules and stays out of court? Unions are good for people and good for business.

eat a wreenky MOOCOW444
eat a wreenky MOOCOW444

"Fall off the face of the earth"??? Thats not a very nice thing to say about someone!!! Be carefull what you wish for because it might happen to you. You came back to this artical NOT because you want to see if Eddie is trying to defend himself. You came back because your obsessed with Eddie and wish you had the spot light like he has!!!! With ALL the business that he's SUED obviously are still in business and doing JUST fine!!!! So you have NOOOOO idea what your talking about because your soooooo STUPID to realize that!!!! HaHaHaHa!!!!! So why don't you GROW up and MOVE on and stop OBSESSING over Eddie!!!!!!

Franco
Franco

Maybe somebody should BEAT ur ass for talking shit.

Meeple youuple
Meeple youuple

i agree 100%I wish there was a way for me to donate $100 to this guy - sure beats the collection plate at church, I'll tell you that!

EDDIE
EDDIE

STAN is the MAN.

Esantana44
Esantana44

Why dont you identify yourself you LIAR and DRAMA QUEEN.And tell the people on here where you work and where we worked together?You are just saying that because you just pobably just was jealous of me and you did not like me.If you were a REAL MAN and step to the plate and tell me who you are.It seems like the only people who are bashing me is the people who have worked with me and/or dont like me.If you see the people who havent worked with me or they like me have a different opinion on this(in my favor).I guess I am important if you HATERS are talking SMACK about me.I cant please everybody out there.I new there would be mixed reactions.OH WELL.

Esantana44
Esantana44

Thank you for recognizing.If you ever need help contact me

Esantana44
Esantana44

Thats right Mr. KNOW it ALL.I have the charlie sheen syndrome.Oh he is rich and sues people all the time as well.So stop hating on people for not letting people fire them for reasons that are not job related and for sticking up for their money and rights.Second,NOBODY should ever put their hands on no one unless the other person CONSENTS TO THAT.Basically what I am saying is that the day that the waiter from TONY ROMAS CHASED ME DOWN THE FRONT DOOR AND MAN-HANDLED ME FROM MY NECK AND SHOULDER for giving another waiter my payment for the check(because MY WAITER was nowhere to be found) is a great LAWSUIT,BECAUSE NO ONE SHOULD ACCUSE YOU OF NOT PAYING YOUR CHECK WHEN IN FACT YOU DID PAY IT AND THEY SHOULDN,T DEFINITELY NOT TOUCH YOU WHATSOEVER ON YOUR BODY ESPECIALLY IN AN ASSAULTING MANNER.You should read some law books because you don't know Krapola.

Esantana44
Esantana44

First of all,some of these allegations about the assault are overboard.I did not start a fight with none of my employers.The owner of barrio latino pushed me out of his restaurant when I asked for my paycheck and all I did was throw a water bottle on the floor.The story about walking to my car and pulling out the water bottle from under my seat like a gun is totally FALSE.Believe what you want to.You know that these restaurant managers and owners(the majority)are fucked up.

prettysmart
prettysmart

You, in fact should read a few first grade Language Arts books. In those books you may find that every comma is followed by a space; as well as, every period. In addition to "shouldn't definitley not" makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. It's easy to see your shortcomings. As far as I can remember, as a patron of the restaurant I bartended at, you repeatedly neglected to pay your tab. So if you are so concerned with the injustices that we have to deal with, why would you then place us in the position to be reprimanded about your bill. According to you, we shouldn't question you as you make a bee-line for the door when your tab is unsettled, yet on a number of occasions at the end of the night the tab labled "Cheap Eddie" is still there...unpaid. I know an easy remedy for the "Cheap Eddies" of the world, drug testing before hiring. I sure the employer would not even have to worry about you coming back for a second interview. Problem solved!

Caeser_Palache
Caeser_Palache

I have a career which involves working for a living and, on my downtime, I enjoy my monies by traveling, lounging and tipping very well to the people who replaced you. Sorry, I do not have time to read a law book for the sake of being slimy- loser. Funny, how its always you being harassed? I guess you just have bad luck with all the accusations? And, umm, since you expounded on the Sheen clause lets not forget the drugs. That mirror has a nice reflection, allegedly?

Susan
Susan

Your funny.How many years ago did this happen supposedly?How much does he owe you allegedly?

Frank
Frank

Grow up.Why don't you identify yourself and stop ducking?

prettysmart
prettysmart

Using whose urine? You were ALWAYS, and apparently still are a big jerk that never paid his tab. It's really simple, if you consume an item then pay for it. Help the readers understand why that isn't your philosophy. Why do you feel as though others should pay your way through life?

Esantana44
Esantana44

I NEVER CLAIMED THAT I WAS SMART.LOOK AT YOUR NEXT TO LAST SENTENCE "I SURE THE EMPLOYER"Your the Idiot.By the way I passed my drug test for my last job,lol!!!

 
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