Tipped workers for a BBQ chain restaurant based out of Maryland have recently settled claims of owed wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). These tipped workers alleged that Famous Dave’s BBQ, owned and operated by Famous Dave’s of America, Inc., failed to properly pay them for minimum and overtime wages. The nearly $1 million settlement will resolve these claims and affect a class of about 680 current and former tipped workers in server and bartender positions at any of the Famous Dave’s of America, Inc. run locations.
The class and collective action lawsuit, which was originally filed back in February of 2019, alleged that Famous Dave’s failed to properly track tipped workers’ hours when completing different job duties at the restaurant. The FLSA requires employers to pay its tipped workers at the proper rate when completing significant amount of non-tip producing work such as cleaning. Employees were forced to clock into the time keeping system using their “server code” regardless of if they were completing tip-producing work or not. Due to this policy and procedure, when an employee spent time completing their “Server Opening Duties”, “Server Closing Duties”, “side work” or “break down work”, they were paid at the reduced minimum wage rate as opposed to the full minimumwage rate as required by the FLSA and local state labor law. Additionally, Famous Dave’s would require employees to not clock-in until finishing their“opening duties” or to clock-out before they started their “closing duties”, denying them significant amount of compensable time at time and a half the regular minimum wage when working over 40 hours per week. Some of the tasks completed during this cleaning and prep work time included: wiping down tables, refilling salt and pepper shakers, refilling sauce bottles, filling the sugars and creamers at tables, taking out the trash, placing chairs on tables, sweeping the floors, rolling silverware, wiping down serving stations, washing dishes, cleaning containers, stocking condiments, cleaning the mini-fridge, emptying sauces, and breaking down soda, coffee and tea station.
These are just some of the common wage violations seen in the restaurant industry. If you work in the industry and are experiencing similar issues at your job such as uncompensated off-the-clock work or not getting paid at the correct rate, don’t hesitate to give an employment lawyer a call to learn more about your rights. Our firm, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, offers a free and confidential consultation to see if you may have any claims for owed wages. You can reach us (212)300-0375 or by visiting our website here for additional helpful information regarding your employment rights.