NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The Capital Grille is finding itself in hot water over unpaid sick leave, and many took out their frustrations at a lunchtime protest outside the popular steakhouse chain on 42nd street in Manhattan on Tuesday, reports WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond.

One of the signs held up by protestors read, “I don’t want to sneeze on your steak.” Another read, “$49 steak, no paid sick day?”

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reports

Kristen, a former Capitol Grille employee, says she often came to work sick.

“All the time,” Kristen explained to Diamond. I mean, we’ve had a stomach virus go through all the workers in the restaurant, and you know they’ll come in. I’ve seen people run downstairs, throw up, come back and deal with their tables.”

A paid sick-leave deal has been languishing in the city council over Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s concerns that it will hurt small business. According to Diamond, 75 percent of food workers lack the benefit.

“Darden [Restaurants] made $400 million in profits last year, and we think they can well afford to pay,” said Donna Dolan, the chair of the New York State Paid Leave Coalition.

The Capital Grille has been sued in New York and four other states for alleged labor violations.

An amended version of a paid sick-leave bill will be introduced in the city council sometime in the near future, WCBS 880 reports.

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