Tag Archives: Denny’s

Denny’s Restaurants Cheated Assistant Managers out of Overtime Wages According to New York lawsuit

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Denny’s restaurants paid Assistant Managers on a salary to avoid paying them overtime, according to a lawsuit filed in New York federal court. An Assistant Manager in Horseheads, New York alleges he worked 50 to 70 hours per week on average, but was not paid overtime compensation at time- and-a-half his regular hourly rate for all hours worked over 40 each week.  Instead, he says Denny’s paid Assistant Managers an annual salary regardless of the number of hours worked.

The lawsuit is directed at franchise FEAST American Diners LLC, which operates 17 Denny’s restaurants in New York.  Attorneys for the Assistant Manager claim that Assistant Managers at Denny’s had primary job duties that included preparing food, helping customers, bussing tables, cleaning the restaurant, labelling and rotating food product, and checking inventory.  The lawsuit alleges that the Assistant Managers did not exercise the responsibilities of a manager or use independent judgment and discretion in running the restaurants, as they did not hire, fire, discipline, or direct the work of other Denny’s employees.

The lawsuit claims that Denny’s restaurants did not provide labor budgets with enough money to cover all hours needed to complete the necessary manual labor tasks.  As a result, they contend Denny’s had knowledge that this underfunding led to Assistant Managers working more than 40 hours per week while mainly performing the overtime-eligible work tasks described above.  The lawsuit also alleges Denny’s failed to keep accurate time records, does not record all hours worked by Assistant Managers, and failed to post a notice explaining the minimum wage and overtime wage requirements anywhere in the restaurants.

This lawsuit continues a recent trend of restaurant workers alleging misclassification as Assistant Managers so they would be “exempt” from the FLSA requirement to receive overtime pay at time and a half for hours worked over forty in a workweek.  Other restaurants hit with lawsuits claiming Assistant Managers were paid a salary to avoid overtime pay include Cracker Barrel, Dunkin Donuts, Chipotle, Jack in the Box, and Jimmy John’s.


Denny’s Settles Disability Discrimination Lawsuit for $1.3 Million

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A nationwide class action lawsuit alleging disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) was settled on June 20, 2011 for $1.3 million.  The case had been filed by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) on behalf of disabled employees at Denny’s 500 corporate-owned restaurants in 30 states.  The Consent Decree, filed by a federal court judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, provides for Denny’s to pay the workers $1.3 million for back pay and compensatory damages.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC charged that Denny’s refused to provide one of its restaurant managers in Baltimore, Maryland with the legally-required reasonable accommodations for her disability, a leg amputation which prohibited her from working in its restaurants, despite her desire to return to work.  Subsequently, Denny’s fired the employee because of her disability.  The EEOC further alleged in its Complaint that Denny’s violated the rights of a nationwide class of workers with disabilities by maintaining a maximum medical leave policy that automatically denied additional medical leave beyond a pre-determined limit – – even when additional leave was required by the ADA as a reasonable accommodation for those workers – – resulting in their unlawful terminations.

The Consent Decree provides for a number of remedies.  Denny’s must offer to reinstate all employees who were fired because of the leave policy to the positions that they held at the time of their discharges.  Denny’s must also amend its medical leave policy to make exceptions to any maximum leave duration provisions by providing additional unpaid medical leave beyond the maximum allowed by its policies when necessary to provide reasonable accommodation to employees with disabilities.  Furthermore, Denny’s is enjoined from any present or future violations of the ADA.