Depending on your point of view, Eddie Santana is either the Robin Hood of restaurant workers or a scam artist. As the Miami New Times reports, the 39-year-old has spent the last decade suing the pants off any restaurant foolish enough to hire him. A post on MetaFilter teases out the story’s nut graf: “Over the years, he’s become so well versed in restaurant labor law that his attorneys don’t even charge him for filing lawsuits anymore. ‘They take them on spec,’ he boasts. ‘By now, they know that if I file something, it’s legit.’ Eddie Santana, restaurant rebel, 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.”

In the New Times story, Santana comes off looking pretty opportunistic. Yet it seems clear that beleaguered restaurant workers could use some kind of champion. Studies showing endemic mistreatment are numerous; take these recent studies in Los Angeles and Washington DC, for instance. In the name of keeping the cost of a customer’s dinner down, restaurateurs screw their staff out of wages and benefits, all the time. It’s kind of a mess, and some kind of avenging angel would be awfully nice. Hey, I wonder what’s up these days with that guy who used to dress up in a superhero costume and remove boots from cars.

Image source: Flickr member KeithBurtis under Creative Commons

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