CINCINNATI — A group of current and former Pizza Hut employees in Tennessee requested for a federal court to certify their class action suit alleging that a franchisee of Pizza Hut failed to properly compensate them and withheld overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Last April, the plaintiffs first asked for class certification, but the franchisee, according to a court of appeals opinion, engaged in tactics deliberately motivated by some perceived tactical advantage that caused delay. While the initial certification request was administratively dismissed, the court of appeals granted the proposed class the right to refile for certification.
Under FLSA, tipped employees are those who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips. FLSA allows employers to take a tip credit towards its minimum wage obligation for tipped employees equal to the difference between the required cash wage (which must be at least $2.13) and the federal minimum wage. The maximum tip credit that an employer can currently claim under FLSA is $5.12 per hour.
In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that the Pizza Hut franchisee forced its workers to perform “unrelated non-tip-producing work” while clocked in as a tipped employee and required them to report unreceived tips in order to allow the franchisee to pay them less. Under FLSA, only tips actually received by the employee may be counted in determining whether the employee is a tipped employee and in how the employer is allowed to apply a tip credit.
FLSA collective class action procedures permit the aggregation of many claims if employees are similarly situated. This means that the employees were subject to a common policy, plan or design that stretches across company departments or locations and which violated the employees’ wage rights under FLSA. However, employees must still opt in and affirmatively sign a document stating that they wish to be a part of the lawsuit. One or more employees may maintain an action, on behalf of themselves and other employees who are similarly situated, to recover damages on any of the grounds available for individual FLSA relief. Those who do not file a written consent are not bound by the outcome of the class action and may file a subsequent private suit.
Groups of employees who claim wage theft due a similar policy or practice may file a collective class action FLSA suit. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you believe your wage rights have been violated. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.