On Feb 27, 2018, the District Judge accepted the Magistrate Judge’s decision to conditionally certify a collective action against Bar Louie. This will allow Plaintiffs to send notice of the lawsuit with an opportunity to opt-in to all current or former servers or bartenders employed by Bar Louie from August 26, 2013 to the present. Affected workers will have the option of participating in this lawsuit with the possibility of recovering potential owed wages.
The lawsuit which was filed back in August 26, 2016 against Bar Louie, a national chain restaurant, alleged that the company violated several of the Fair Labor Standard Acts’ ( FLSA ) minimum-wage requirements. The complaint alleged that Bar Louie improperly claimed the federal “tip credit,” which under strict requirements allows employers to pay its tipped employees less than the minimum hourly wage. However, Plaintiffs argue that these strict requirements were not met in this case. Specifically, it is alleged that Bar Louie willfully violated the FLSA and did not meet the federal “tip credit” requirement by failing to provide employees with an adequate notice of its intent to claim the credit. Additionally, Bar Louie required its tipped employees to perform non-tip producing side work such as sweeping, cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, cutting fruit considered unrelated to the tipped profession. Finally, the restaurant chain required them to spend more than 20% of their shift time completing this non-tip producing side work. If tipped employees are forced to complete non-tip producing work for a significant amount of time, the lawsuit argues that they should be paid the full minimum wage rate as opposed to the reduced minimum wage.
Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP is pleased with the Judge’s decision in this matter as many affected tipped employees for Bar Louie will be able to learn more about their rights under the FLSA and will have the option to participate in this lawsuit. If you or anyone you know has worked for Bar Louie restaurants and has questions about this case, do not hesitate to call our office at (212) 300-0375. Additionally, if you’ve worked at other restaurants and have experienced similar issues you may have a claim to potentially recover owed wages. You can also find more information about your rights as an employee on our webpage.