Friendly’s has reached a $4.6 million settlement for a wage theft lawsuit brought by servers at its Pennsylvania locations. The lawsuit alleged various violations of restaurant worker rights, including unpaid minimum wage, overtime wages, forced off-the-clock work and unpaid meal breaks.
The wage lawsuit claimed that Friendly’s required servers to continue working after the end of their shifts without compensating them. Attorneys for the workers claimed that Friendly’s paid its waiters and waitresses at the tipped minimum wage rate of $2.83 per hour despite the fact that they spent more than 20% of their time performing non-tipped work, including cleaning dish rooms, sweeping floors, stocking straws and napkins, and stocking the salad bar and soda machine. According to the lawsuit, Friendly’s should have been paying them at the non-tipped minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour while performing this work.
The lawsuit claimed that servers at Friendly’s performed between 5-10 hours of unpaid “off-the-clock” post-shift work each week. For the work performed after the required “swipe out” at the end of their scheduled shift, Friendly’s required that servers swipe the card of another “on-the-clock” manager or co-worker in order to authorize the transactions. Under this off the clock scheme, Friendly’s did not pay employees for any work performed after the scheduled shift ended and cheated the workers out of their overtime wages.
The settlement agreement covers approximately 10,000 servers and will pay out an average of about $332 to each class member.