Waitresses and bartenders at a Hooters Restaurant in Alabama filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that Hooters violated the minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when it paid employees a reduced tipped minimum wage of $2.13 per hour, rather than the FLSA minimum wage of $7.25. The Complaint alleges that the restaurant should not have taken a tip credit because it allowed kitchen workers, who did not directly interact with Hooters customers, to receive a portion of the daily tips earned by front of house employees. The waitresses and bartenders complain that the tip credit was also improper because tipped employees spent more than 20% of their daily shifts engaging in non tip producing activities such as side work (e.g. cleaning the restaurant and stocking and replenishing the bar and service areas).
The federal court lawsuit against Hooters also claims that the restaurant shaved hours from employee paychecks. The restaurant workers were required to arrive at work before their scheduled start time and also had to remain at work until all customers departed from Hooters. The time spent at work before and after their designated shift time was unpaid.
The wage theft lawsuit against Hooters seeks compensation for unpaid wages, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and costs.