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.