Buffalo Wild Wings Owes Wages to Its Tipped Workers

Three Buffalo Wild Wings locations in New York have just been hit with a class action lawsuit seeking to recover minimum wages and overtime pay along with other owed wages. The popular sports bar and casual dining restaurant franchise, owned and operated by Banta Management Services, Inc., paid their tipped workers the reduced minimum wage rate or tip credit, however, failed to meet the strict statutory requirements that would permit them to apply the reduced minimum wage to their workers.

For example, Buffalo Wings maintained a policy and practice that required their tipped workers to spend a substantial amount of time performing non-tip producing side work related to the employee’s tipped occupation. The substantial list of side work duties included but were not limited to: cleaning the bathroom and sinks, washing dishes, portioning sauces into 3 oz containers, breaking down and cleaning the beverage station,  rolling large amounts of silverware, cleaning and breaking down the expeditor’s line, sweeping, cleaning the POS station, cleaning the patio, washing walls, rotating stock / condiments, setting up the expeditors’ line, fillings with ice and condiments, setting up the beverage station, making coffee and tea for the restaurant, stocking napkins, cups, wet naps, condiments, and paper boats.

Tipped workers were required by Defendants to perform side work at the beginning, during, and at the end of their shifts. By significantly taking away their opportunity to earn tips Buffalo Wild Wings violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the New York Labor Law (NYLL). The lawsuit alleges the company should have paid its tipped worker the full minimum wage during the hours they completed side work.

Affected workers include former and current servers, bussers, bartenders, and other tipped workers who work or have worked at any of the following three locations owned by the company between October 3, 201013 and the date of final judgment in this matter: 567 Rt. 211 E., Middletown, New York 10947; 1794 South Rd., Wappingers Falls, New York 12590; and 768 State Rte. 28, Oneonta, New York 13820.

These Buffalo Wild Wings locations also failed to pay spread-of-hours when an employee worked more than 10 hours in a day as well as failing to provide call-in pay when tipped workers were forced to leave a shift early and had not hit the 3 hour mark.

Unfortunately for restaurant workers these violations are not uncommon in the industry. If you’ve worked at a restaurant and have experienced similar issues, calling an employment attorney may help you figure out if you have a claim. Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP offers a free phone consultation to discuss your situation. We can be reached at (212) 300-0375 or by visit our website here.