Wage and Hour Lawsuits May Affect Tipped Employee Compensation

Two wage and hour lawsuits are making their way through the court system that could have a large impact on how tipped employees are paid. Pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers may pay certain types of workers (such as waiters and waitresses) less than minimum wage. The law presumes that the amount these “tipped workers” receive in tips will close the gap and make up the difference in pay. Where tipped employees do not receive sufficient pay in tips, employers are generally required to make up the difference. If you are a tipped worker and have questions concerning your pay, it is a good idea to consult with an experienced Atlanta wage and hour attorney to ensure you are receiving all the compensation you are entitled to.

In one of the recent cases, Flood et al v. Carlson Restaurants Inc. et al., employees of TGI Fridays filed a class action lawsuit against the chain’s own asserting that the company violated the FLSA by demanding that tipped employees spend considerable time working at tasks where they did not receive tips, a practice that potentially violates wage and hours law under the FLSA and state statutes. The employees specifically complained about the company’s policy of requiring workers come in earlier than scheduled hours of serving customers to do cleaning, bulk food preparation and restocking.

Further in a separate lawsuit, a former chain restaurant employee alleged that he spent roughly 20 % of his time performing non-tipped duties. This amount exceeds FLSA guidelines for tipped employees. The employee sued for back wages and damages. The lawsuit settled out of court. Each of these lawsuits demonstrates an increased recognition by tipped employees concerning their rights to receive fair wages.

For more information or if you have questions concerning your pay, or how your wages are calculated, please contact the experienced and knowledgeable Atlanta wage and hour lawyers at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP for an immediate case evaluation.