Several former employees of Wahlburgers, a restaurant chain, have filed a class action lawsuit alleging the franchise located in Brooklyn, NY was “rampant” with wage theft and other violations of labor laws. The suit filed in federal court names the franchise owner and Wahlburgers Franchising, LLC among others, as defendants and contains allegations that the employer violated several provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Laws. The complaint asks the court to award members of the class money for unpaid overtime, unpaid hours, and liquidated damages.
The law states that employers must pay employees for all hours they work during the workday. All time the employee is required to be on the employer’s premises or “on duty” is compensable. The workday is the time from when the employee begins his or her principal activity to the time he or she ceases such activity. On-call time, break periods, training programs and waiting time may also, under many circumstances, be compensable.
The class action against Wahlburgers alleges that the franchise regularly “shaved” the hours of employees, refusing to pay them for their time. The former workers claim that the employer cut 5-10 hours of compensable time per week for things such as meal breaks they never took. The plaintiffs allege that they were also told to work without “punching in.”
The lawsuit also includes allegations that the employer did not pay the workers for their time spent attending mandatory meetings.
Under the FLSA and NY state law, non-exempt employees must receive overtime pay. Overtime is all hours worked more than 40 in a given workweek. For all hours more than 40, an employer must pay the employee one and a half time the hourly rate of pay, known as time and a half. Companies often try to avoid paying overtime to deserving workers.
The suit against Whalburgers also alleges that the business did not pay several tipped workers, who received a $300.00 weekly salary, for overtime.
A tip, also called a gratuity, is money given by a customer to an employee for service provided. Charges made to the customer in addition to those for food, drink, and other specified materials or servicesare sometimes called service charges and are presumed to be tips and belong to the employee.
Plaintiffs in the Wahlburgers lawsuit claim that the franchise frequently stole their tips, and on one occasion never distributed a $3,000.00 gratuity left after a private party. The class action also accuses the Defendants of forcing tipped workers to participate in an illegal pooling arrangement in which tipped workers had to share their gratuities with non-tipped kitchen staff.
The class action lawsuit against Wahlburgers has not reached a resolution, but it highlights some crucial and commonly encountered wage-hour issues. Employment lawyers at Leeds Brown can help you if your employer has withheld wages to which you are entitled. If your employer has
Contact our New York office for a free case evaluation. Our employment law attorneys can help you recover unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, unpaid tips and other relief when your employer violates your rights. Call 1-800-585-4658 today.
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