EMPLOYMENT LITIGATION

CASE: Capital Grille

Issues: Minimum wage; overtime compensation; spread-of-hours; misappropriated tips; uniform expenses

Summary:

A lawsuit filed on November 17, 2011 alleges that Capital Grille failed to pay its tipped hourly food service workers the proper minimum wage rate, overtime and spread-of-hours. The lawsuit was filed as a class action against Capital Grille locations nationwide. Thus, any current or former server, busser, runner, bartender, barback, server assistant, or any other tipped food service worker who has worked for Capital Grille within the past six years might be affected.

The servers, bussers, runners, bartenders, barbacks, server assistants, and other tipped food service workers ("food service workers") allege that Capital Grille did not inform them of the tipped minimum wage or tip credit provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") or the New York Labor Law ("NYLL"), therefore, Capital Grille should have paid the food service workers the full minimum wage rate (currently $7.25 in NY), rather than the tipped minimum wage rate (currently $5.00 in NY). The food service workers also allege that Capital Grille required them to perform "off-the-clock" work which they were never compensated. "Off-the-clock" work consisted of requiring workers to arrive before their shift in order to dress for their shift, requiring them to punch in after they got their first table, and to punch out before they performed non-tipped work such as setting up tables and moving chairs. As a result of these practices, the food service workers were not compensated for all the hours they worked and when they worked over forty hours per workweek, they were not paid overtime. The food service workers consistently worked in excess of 10 hours per day without ever being compensated one additional hour of minimum wage. Food service workers were required to do non-tipped "side work" such as, cleaning, in excess of twenty percent of their time at work. During these periods, Capital Grille compensated them at the tipped minimum wage rate rather than the full minimum wage rate as required under law. Furthermore, Capital Grille required tips to be distributed to employees who are not entitled to tips under the FLSA and/or NYLL such as, dishwashers, silverware polishers, and plate scrapers. Finally, customers of private parties were required to pay a mandatory gratuity which they were led to believe went to the tipped food service workers. However, Capital Grille retained portions of the gratuity and/or distributed it to employees not entitled tips under the FLSA and/or NYLL. The lawsuit seeks to recover difference between the tipped minimum wage and the full minimum wage, premium overtime pay for hours worked in excess of forty per workweek, spread-of-hours pay, the amount of tips that were distributed to the employees who are not entitled to tips, uniform maintenance reimbursements, and unlawful deductions made from pay.

Case Update:

Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP, Joseph & Kirschenbaum, LLP and Berke-Weiss & Pechman LLP are pleased to announce that the Honorable Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald has granted Plaintiffs' Motion for conditional certification and court-authorized notice to potential class members. Click Here to Read the Decision.

What does this mean?
Tipped employees that have worked at any of the 47 Capital Grille restaurants nationwide will receive notice of the lawsuit and have the opportunity to join.

Who is included?
Anyone that has worked as a tipped employee at any of the 47 Capital Grilles since November 18, 2008 will receive notice of the lawsuit. If you have worked as a tipped employee at Capital Grille since November 18, 2008, you do not have to wait to receive notice to join the case. Please contact Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP at 212-300-0375 to discuss your employment with Capital Grille.

Anyone who has worked at a restaurant as a server, busser, runner, bartender, barback, host, server assistant, or any other tipped hourly position, within the past six years may have a wage claim. Please contact the employment lawyers at Fitapelli & Schaffer, (212) 300-0375, to schedule a free consultation so that we can discuss your rights under the FLSA and NYLL.

Contact Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP

Current and former Capital Grille tipped restaurant workers, who have questions about the lawsuit, should contact Fitapelli & Schaffer, (212) 300-0375. You can also view the complaint here.

RECORD SETTING AWARDS AND SETTLEMENTS

FOR OUR CLIENTS


$19,100,000

$19.1 Million for Tipped Restaurant Workers. (pending court approval)

Workers such as servers, bussers, runners bartenders, barbacks and other tipped workers at a large national casual dining chain alleged they were owed wages. Their claims included but were not limited to: unpaid overtime, spread-of hours, misappropriated tips, uniform-related expenses and unlawful deductions.

$15,900,000

$15.9 Million for Personal Bankers.

The firm was able to recover overtime compensation for personal bankers and others similarly situated at a national bank that operates hundreds of branches throughout the United States. Employees in affected positions claimed they were required to work more than 40 hours a week in order to meet sales quotas but were not compensated overtime for their pay.

$14,500,000

$14.5 Million for Spam Text Victims

Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to recover damages for recipients of unwanted promotional text messages from a popular young adult clothing retailer. The clothing company allegedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act by sending text messages to recipients’ cellular phones without their prior express written consent.

$7,000,000

$7.0 Million for Bank Loan Officers

The firm was able to recover overtime compensation for loan officers at a national bank that operates more than hundreds of branches nationwide. Employees in affected positions claimed they were required to work more than 40 hours a week in order to meet sales goals but were not compensated overtime for their pay.

$5,900,000

$5.9 Million for Commissioned Car Salesmen.

One of the largest auto dealerships in the NYC Metropolitan Area agreed to pay owed wages to its car salesmen. The company was accused of failing to pay salesmen the proper minimum wage, overtime pay, commissions, and made unlawful deductions from their earned wages in violation of federal labor laws.

$4,300,000

$4.3 Million for Personal Bankers

Even though personal bankers at this nationwide bank were classified as exempt from receiving overtime pay, the company routinely required them to work in excess of 40 hours per week. There are federal laws that help protect workers from misclassification and in this situation; Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to recover unpaid overtime for personal bankers throughout the United States.

$4,300,000

$4.3 Million for Entertainers at Gentleman’s Clubs

F&S represented entertainers at a popular gentleman’s club in New York City that claimed the club failed to pay them the proper wages. The entertainers were able to recover owed wages that included unpaid minimum wages, overtime pay, spread-of-hours pay, unlawfully retained tips, unlawful deductions, and uniform-related expenses.

$3,600,000

$3.6 Million for Tipped Employees at Upscale Restaurant

Tipped workers alleged that a Mexican Michelin rated restaurant with 17 locations denied them overtime pay, minimum wages, and call-in pay. Our firm was able to recover wages for these tipped employees that included servers, bussers, bartenders, food runners and barbacks.

$3,400,000

$3.4 Million for Assistant Managers at Bank

Fitapelli & Schaffer successfully recovered unpaid overtime for assistant managers on a salary at a bank with locations nationwide. The salaried workers argued that they were wrongfully classified as exempt from receiving overtime when working over 40 hours per week.

$3,000,000

$3.0 Million for Bank Loan Officers

The fast food chain allegedly misclassified its assistant managers as salaried workers and considered them exempt from receiving overtime pay when working over 40 hours per week. Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to recover overtime compensation for all of the popular fast food chains’ assistant managers nationwide, with the exception of California.

$2,836,000

$2.9 Million for Tipped Restaurant Employees.

Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to recover unpaid minimum wages, overtime, spread-of hours, and unlawful deductions for tipped restaurant workers at a popular dining chain. Affected workers included servers, bussers, runners bartenders, barbacks and other tipped workers.

$2,250,000

$2.25 Million for Tipped Workers at Chain Sports Bar

proper minimum wage and overtime. Fitapelli & Schaffer helped the workers recover owed wages to the following positions: servers, bussers, bartenders, and other tipped workers under federal and state labor laws.

$2,000,000

$2.0 Million for Bank Loan Officers

Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to successfully recover unpaid overtime for loan officers at a nationwide bank that operates over one thousand locations across the United States. Loan officers for the company alleged that even though they were hourly employees and consistently worked over 40 hours per week they were working off the clock and not getting overtime pay.

$1,950,000

$1.95 Million for Health Care Workers

A New York based health insurance provider allegedly had its health care workers working over 40 hours per week but required they submit weekly timesheets that only showed they worked 37.5 hours. Fitapelli & Schaffer was able to successfully recover compensation for unpaid wages, overtime and spread of hours pay.

CONTACT

FITAPELLI & SCHAFFER LLP


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