NEW YORK — A lawsuit in New York federal court claims TGI Fridays failed to pay its tipped workers minimum wage and overtime, among other state and federal wage violations. The TGI Fridays’ tipped workers seek class action status in this action. If the class is certified, it will include current and former servers, bartenders, hosts, barbacks, runners, and bussers.
The tipped workers claim TGI Fridays paid them less than minimum wage and required them to share tips with those who are not eligible for tip sharing. The workers also claim TGI Fridays had a policy and practice of requiring tipped workers perform non-tipped work or “side work” for a significant portion of their shifts. Non-tipped work includes stocking, food preparation, and cleaning. Tipped employees were pushed to do side work off the clock until their first customer arrived and then they could clock in. If the tipped worker was approaching 40 hours and overtime eligibility for the week, managers, also, urged them to do non-tipped work off the clock. Additionally, the lawsuit claims workers were required to clean their uniforms, but were not reimbursed for their laundering expenses.
Tipped Workers’ Work and Wages
It is expected that employees who traditionally receive tips for their services will regularly surpass minimum wage pay. For this reason, tipped workers have different minimum wage amounts, under federal and some state laws, than non-tipped workers. However, if a tipped worker does non-tipped work, like cleaning and stocking, they are entitled to regular minimum wage. Employers are required to record both time spent doing tipped and non-tipped work separately, so the employee will receive proper wages for each.
Federal tipped minimum wage, for those making more than $30 a month in tips, is $2.13 an hour. If, however, an employee does not make enough in tips to reach the federal minimum wage of $7.25, the employer must make up the difference. Federal and state labor laws also designate those who are able to receive tips and how tips may and may not be distributed among tipped workers. Tipped employees are not required to share their tips, but, if there is a tip pool or tip sharing, only tipped workers are allowed to share in the tips.
Some states, like New York, have higher tipped minimum wage. In New York, tipped restaurant workers receive $5.00 an hour and the workers tips must reach the state’s $8.00 minimum wage. New York labor law also requires employers either pay to launder employees’ required uniforms or compensate the employees for laundering services because these costs can cause employee wages to drop below minimum wage.
If you are a tipped TGI Fridays employee or you believe you have been denied proper wages and overtime, contact our experienced team of overtime pay lawyers today at (855) 754-2795 to discuss your situation. Or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form and our knowledgeable legal team will evaluate your case.