TikToker Explains Why He 'Refused' To Work At The Cheesecake Factory

Austin Newtoff has shared a now-viral TikTok video explaining why he ultimately "refused" to work at The Cheesecake Factory despite applying for a position. In the post, he claims to have 10 years of cooking experience and four years of managerial work "beneath my belt." He wanted to pad his income with a part-time job and was apparently hired at a starting wage of $19/hr. But Newtoff says he "didn't show up" after being added to the company's schedule because he opposes certain terms of the employment contract.

One of the primary points of contention for Newtoff is what he describes on camera as a "right to arbitrage." However, a commenter points out and Newtoff confirms in a reply that he's actually referring to "arbitration." As Newtoff explains it, he would have been signing away his right to sue the company. He alleges that in the event of being assaulted, would have to seek a corporate remedy in ways outlined by the company. He believes bypassing those steps and going straight to law enforcement would be a firing offense. 

Newtoff also objects to what he refers to as a "social media clause." According to him, it would allow The Cheesecake Factory to access employees' private social media accounts and sell their info. He calls this "corporate overreach" and "corporate fascism," declaring that "it isn't right." After catching wind of these allegations, the Daily Dot sought The Cheesecake Factory's response.

The Cheesecake Factory disputes the claims

Disputing Newtoff's characterization of the employment contract, The Cheesecake Factory said in a statement to the Daily Dot, "The company's social media policy does not require staff members to waive their rights or to give up their passwords. We do not sell our staff members' personal information nor do we proactively monitor their personal social media pages." It further stated that "while our staff members do sign arbitration agreements, our arbitration agreements specifically exclude certain claims that are not legally subject to arbitration."

FindLaw explains that arbitration does indeed involve resolving disputes out of court, with outcomes being decided by "a neutral third party called the arbitrator" whose decisions are, "in general, fair and will follow the law." But arbitration clauses can also tilt the proceedings in ways that almost always benefit the employer because it has more resources at its disposal than the employee. Decisions are usually final. 

However, in response to Newtoff's complaint about arbitration, commenter We waz kangzz – who claims to be licensed to "practice law in 6 states" – suggests that the conditions laid out in such agreements aren't always unenforceable (via TikTok). The user asserts, "I studied contracts in law school and you actually can't contractually be held to some of these things. Although they do put them as a scare tactic." Even so, Netwoff insisted that given "the information and the privilege" The Cheesecake Factory allegedly "wanted with my life it wasn't the right place to stay."