NEW YORK — A group of tipped employees who filed a collective action suit against TGI Friday’s for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) asked a federal court for permission to file a third amended complaint that would include more than the classes that the court conditionally certified in January 2015. Additionally, the plaintiffs asked the court to add significant new legal arguments to their case. However, in response, TGI Friday’s filed a response opposing the expansion of the class, claiming that it is too late and the new complaint would go too far. The expansion of the class, according to TGI Friday’s, would increase the size and scope of the litigation in an unmanageable fashion and would require a significant investment of additional resources and result in significant delays. Additionally, it would require pleadings from both sides on a number of issues, including new motions for class certification and newly asserted violations of law, and this delay would prejudice the company.
The initial suit filed by the employees alleged that the restaurant required tipped workers to perform non-tip-producing work such as cleaning, food preparation, and stocking, for which they are owed minimum wage and overtime pay.The court granted conditional class certification, which covered more than 40,000 employees. Both sides initially reached a tentative settlement agreement; however, the court disapproved the settlement because of sweeping confidentiality provisions as well as a provision that would have given a damages award to TGI Friday’s if the plaintiff breaches the confidentiality agreement.
Under FLSA, employees must be similarly-situated to be able to bring a collective action suit. Employees are similarly situated if they are subject to a common policy, plan, or design that covers different company departments or locations. Employees must opt in and affirmatively sign a document stating that they wish to be a part of the suit. Employees who do not file a written consent are not bound by the outcome of the collective action and may file a subsequent private suit.
Collective actions must first be conditionally certified by the court, which makes a determination as to whether the members are similarly situated. After conditional certification, the parties may conduct discovery, and if the court finds that a common policy brings the group together and the claims may be resolved with common evidence, the collective actions may move forward.
Collective action suits are one means by which workers may vindicate their wage rights under federal and state wage laws. If you believe your employer has employed a policy that violates employees’ wage rights and wish to pursue a collective action suit, you should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine the best option. We will also determine you should file a lawsuit against your employer. Call our experienced attorneys today.