WaiterPay – New York Labor and Employment Lawyers

Assistant Managers Sue Ruby Tuesday for Overtime Wages


Former assistant managers at Ruby Tuesday restaurants filed a lawsuit claiming that the restaurant chain purposefully misclassified Kitchen Managers, Culinary Managers, Guest Services Managers, Front-of-House Managers, and Back-of-the-House Managers as exempt employees to avoid paying them overtime required by the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA).

Although the assistant managers primarily performed tasks similar to those performed by non-exempt employees, such as preparing food, serving customers, and cleaning the restaurant, Ruby Tuesday classified them as “executives” to exempt them from overtime requirements under federal and state laws.

In the lawsuit filed by the restaurant workers’ attorneys in Connecticut federal court, it is claimed that Ruby Tuesday did not pay their assistant managers premium overtime compensation when they worked beyond forty hours in a workweek. Assistant managers were consistently required to work more than forty hours per week and were earning as little as $37,500 per year. The two assistant managers that brought the lawsuit claim that they worked between fifty-five and sixty-two hours per week.

Lawyers for the workers also claim that their rights were violated because Ruby Tuesday was not keeping accurate time records for employee work hours. The assistant managers were not required to clock in or out, or otherwise record their time; neither was their work hours recorded on paystubs.

Joe’s Crab Shack Eliminates Its “No Tipping” Policy

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Joe’s Crab Shack announced that it would restore tipping at most of their no tipping locations less than a year after adopting the highly criticized “no tipping policy” at their restaurant chain. Created with the intention of moving away from an antiquated gratuity model, Joe’s Crab Shack became the first national chain to eliminate tipping from their restaurants when they applied the “no tipping policy” to 18 of their restaurants.

The restaurant’s research showed that about 60% of customers disliked the policy because it took away incentive for good service and that they didn’t necessarily trust that management is passing along the money to workers. The feedback from the customers of Joe’s Crab Shack is consistent with the results of a survey held by WaiterPay.com which revealed that a majority of servers were against no tipping policies. The WaiterPay survey revealed that waiters and waitresses believed that “no tipping” policies would negatively affect the pay they earned and decrease they quality of customer service.


Popular French Restaurant in Meat Packing District Sued For Wage Theft

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Servers who worked at Bagatelle, a French bistro in Manhattan’s Meat Packing District known for its outlandish brunches, have sued for wage violations.

The workers’ lawsuit alleges that the restaurant paid its servers at a “tipped minimum wage rate,” but that they did not satisfy the strict requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act or New York Labor Law, that would allow them to pay a reduced minimum wage, otherwise known as taking a “tip credit.” Specifically, Bagatelle did not give its servers proper notification of the tip credit, which is a prerequisite to their ability to use such credit. In addition, the workers allege that Bagatelle retained and misappropriated waiters’ tips by requiring them to share tips with tip ineligible employees, such as captains/managers and silver polishers.

The class action wage lawsuit filed by the waiters also allege that Bagatelle required its servers to purchase aprons and white shirts that bore the restaurants insignia, which could be neither washed nor dry-cleaned. Waiters were forced to replace the aprons by Bagatelle at their own expense at a rate of $35 per apron. The server’s uniform also required daily dry cleaning, specifically the shirt’s banded collars and French cuffs, for which the restaurant did not reimburse the servers. Each shirt cost about $25 and servers had to incur uniform purchase and maintenance expenses, who were already compensated at rates below the FLSA and New York State minimum wage.






McDonald’s to Pay New York Workers $1.5 Million for Uniform Maintenance Violations

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McDonald’s will pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit claiming that its restaurants failed to pay workers uniform maintenance pay and did not compensate them for time spent cleaning and pressing their uniforms.

The lawsuit, filed in New York federal court in March 2014, was brought against McDonald’s locations in New York State.   Attorneys for the restaurant workers alleged that McDonald’s imposed cleanliness standards on its workers but failed to provide employees with mandated uniform maintenance payments required by New York law or pay them for the time spent keeping the uniforms clean.   McDonalds denied liability, claiming that it provided workers with sufficient number of uniform’s that could be washed with other clothes.

The settlement covers an estimated 10,400 hourly non-managerial workers who worked at McDonald’s restaurants in New York State from March 13, 2008 through May 10, 2016.   Each class member will receive a settlement payment calculated in accordance with a distribution formula based on the number of workweeks and hours worked during the covered period.

Workers Sue for Wage Theft at Long Island Dunkin Donuts Locations

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Employees at Dunkin Donuts locations on Long Island were cheated out of their wages, according to a lawsuit filed by the workers’ attorneys in New York Federal Court. According to the wage theft lawsuit, Dunkin Donuts workers at several Long Island stores routinely worked 70 – 90 hours a week, but were never paid for all the hours they worked. The workers were constantly subject to time shaving and routinely required to work off the clock, and therefore deprives of minimum wage and overtime pay required under the labor laws.

According to the wage theft lawsuit, Dunkin Donuts consistently failed to pay workers the number of hours recorded on their time cards. In addition, workers were ordered to work at other Dunkin Donuts stores when they completed their shifts and were forced to either not clock in there or clock in under former employees’ names. Employees were not paid for this work, sometimes as many as 30 extra hours a week. Furthermore, the Complaint contends that the two workers who filed the lawsuit were threatened when they complained to management about these illegal practices and were terminated in retaliation for filing a complaint with the Department of Labor.

The workers’ wage lawsuit alleges violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law. Attorneys for the workers are seeking lost wages, liquidated damages, penalties, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.

Owners of Charleston Area Restaurants to Pay Nearly $1.2M in Back Wages and Damages

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An investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found that the owners of 13 Charleston, South Carolina area restaurants violated minimum wage, overtime, and recordkeeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Under the FLSA, employers are allowed to take a “tip credit” and pay tipped employees below the full federal minimum wage per hour if the employees will make at least minimum wage after keeping their tips.  To legally apply the tip credit, a restaurant must ensure that all tips received by tipped employees are retained by the employees (unless there is a valid tip pooling arrangement). In the present case, the employer required servers to give a percentage of their tips back to them and compelled three servers to work for only tips. The restaurant owners also required workers at some locations to purchase their uniforms, which reduced their earnings below the minimum wage.

The investigation also found that the employer failed to pay cooks, dishwashers and runners for all hours worked, resulting in these employees not earning minimum wage for all hours worked. Furthermore, these workers did not receive overtime pay of time-and-one-half for all hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek. Lastly, the owners failed to keep legally mandated time and attendance records.

Judge C. Weston Houck, of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, approved a consent judgment between the department and the owners, who will pay a total of $1,179,045 to 119 employees, which includes $589,523 in back wages and an additional equal amount in liquidated damages for all affected employees who worked at any of the 13 restaurants from Aug. 13, 2011 to Dec. 13, 2014.




T.G.I. Friday’s Lawsuit Claims “Side Work” ≠ Tipped Minimum Wage


A wage theft lawsuit against T.G.I Friday’s restaurants in New Jersey was brought on behalf of servers who allege that the restaurants wrongfully paid them a tipped minimum wage and failed to pay them appropriate overtime compensation.

Attorneys for the workers claim that servers, bussers, runner bartenders, barbacks, and hosts at T.G.I Friday’s restaurants in New Jersey were paid a tipped minimum wage even though they were required to perform non-tip producing duties or “side work” in excess of 20% of their work day work. The side work performed by servers included filling bins with ice, lettuce, tomatoes and condiments; cutting lemons and limes; setting up dishes and glassware; rolling silverware; and sweeping and mopping.

The lawsuit claims that front of the house workers were also required to work “off the clock” and would stay at the restaurant for approximately two hours prior to or after their shifts for “off the clock” work or staff meetings without getting paid.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), employers are allowed to take a “tip credit” and pay waiters, bussers, and bartenders below the federal minimum wage.  The United States Department of Labor regulations provide, however, that a restaurant will not qualify for the “tip credit” for employees that spend more than 20% of their time performing non-tipped work.

The case against T.G.I. Friday’s was filed by the workers’ attorneys in federal court in New Jersey.  The lawsuit seeks back wages, liquidated damages, and attorneys’ fees.


Iowa Restaurants Sued for Tip Credit Wage Violations

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Servers at two Des Moines, Iowa restaurants, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse and Centro Restaurant, have filed lawsuits against the restaurants alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Iowa wage laws. In the collective action and class action lawsuits, filed in Iowa Federal Court, the servers assert that they were illegally paid a tipped minimum wage rate for time spent performing non-tipped work, such as sorting, polishing, and rolling silverware and cleaning tables, counters, walls, and floors.

Under the FLSA and Iowa wage laws, employers are allowed to take a “tip credit” and pay tipped employees such as waiters and bussers below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. However, employees who spend more than 20% of their time doing non-tipped work must receive the full minimum wage rate for time spent performing those duties. The lawsuits allege that the servers were paid at the Iowa reduced minimum rate of $4.35 for all hours worked even though they spent more than 20% of their working time performing non-tipped duties such as setting-up and cleaning.

This so-called 80/20 rule has been the subject of a previous waiterpay blog regarding Applebee’s.



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