MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Three former servers for a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina restaurant recently filed a collective action unpaid overtime lawsuit against the company claiming that the defendant violated federal wage and labor laws by requiring servers to split their tip earnings with the house. If the complaint moves forward, other servers who used to work for or are currently employed at any four of the defendant’s Captain George’s seafood restaurants in the Southeast could join the claim and recover their own lost wages.
According to the unpaid overtime lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina in the Florence Division, the defendant committed rampant and systematic wage theft against the servers of its Myrtle Beach location. The scheme worked by requiring servers to tip out a certain percentage of their sales to the house, which would then go to hourly workers in the back of the house or even management, which typically earns a flat salary.
While restaurants are legally allowed to set up “tip pools” to draw server tips and pay the tip wages of other front-of-the-house workers responsible for taking care of customers, the allegations in the lawsuit would constitute an illegal act, if true. Unfortunately, this type of wage theft is an all too common occurrence in many restaurants with staff who are unaware of the complexities of wage laws for tip-earning employees.
The complaint further alleges that the defendant failed to pay servers the proper overtime rate when they worked more than 40 hours in a week, another serious violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA, all workers earning an hourly wage must earn overtime when working above the 40-hour overtime threshold.
Servers from other restaurants could potentially join the suit if the plaintiffs can prove they are similarly situated and suffered the same types of wage theft from the same employer. The complaint seeks back pay with interest, liquidated damages equal to back pay, court costs, and attorneys fees to cover the cost of litigating the claim.
Restaurant Worker Wage Theft Lawsuit
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