TAMPA — Carrabba’s Italian Grill is facing a proposed class action lawsuit over off-the-clock work and unpaid overtime wages. The Italian restaurant chain allegedly required its cooks to work without pay and denied them earned overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The cooks filed their claim in Florida federal court and are seeking back wages and other damages.
The Cooks’ Claim
Danny Batista began working for the Tampa, Florida, Carrabba’s in 1999. He, like the other proposed class members, was responsible for food preparation, catering, and acted as a deli cook for OS Restaurant Services Inc., which does business as Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Florida. Batista claims he was denied the time-and-a-half he earned when he worked more than 40 hours a week for the company.
In his complaint, Batista alleges the company has a policy and practice of requiring cooks to work off the clock. He claims the policy is part of an attempt to avoid providing full compensation for hours worked. Batista’s allegations cover not only the unpaid overtime hours he and other similarly situated cooks worked, but it also covers the straight time hours, which are paid at the cooks regular hourly rate, for which the company failed to provide full compensation.
One of the many claims associated with unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, denial of proper meal breaks, and other FLSA violations is a claim of unjust enrichment. Unjust enrichment occurs when a company profits from its FLSA violations, and gains an advantage over its competitors, at the expense of its employees’ wages. The employer enjoys the benefits of its employees’ labor, but at costs which are frequently significantly below that of its competitors. By paying its employees’ wages which are below minimum wage or by not paying for all the hours they work, employers essentially receive free labor, unjustly enriching the employer. When an employer is found to have been unjustly enriched, they are likely responsible for restitution or compensation that restores the employee to where they should have been without the violation.
To receive court approval and restitution, the employees bringing the claim must show that the employer knew they were receiving unjust enrichment and that restitution is equitable and in good conscience. If Carrabba’s knew its cooks were not being paid for all of the hours they worked and were being denied overtime then it is likely they were aware that they were gaining an unfair advantage, and compensating the cooks for their lost and denied wages is the proper action.
Whether you are contemplating an overtime claim or have received notice of an overtime settlement offer, our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers can evaluate your situation and discuss your options today at (855) 754-2795 or you can complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form. If we accept your case, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise. This means there are no legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.