On September 15, 2017, a $19.1 million settlement was reached between a putative class of 28,800 TGI Fridays tipped employees and the restaurant chain. The nationwide lawsuit was originally filed on April 17, 2014 by more than a dozen named plaintiffs, alleging that the casual dining restaurant chain and its former owner, hospitality firm Carlson Restaurants Inc., violated the Fair Labor Standards Act, along with labor laws in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey and New York. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that TGI Fridays improperly took a tip credit from the paychecks of tipped employees who were already being paid below minimum wage. In addition to the tip credit, the plaintiffs claimed that the chain failed to pay tipped employees overtime, refund uniform related expenses, as well as misappropriating tips and unlawfully docking employee pay for customer walkouts.
According to the settlement, plaintiffs will be seeking certification for two classes. One class will be made up of plaintiffs who filed written consent to join the litigation and the other class will be made up of tipped employees of TGI Fridays in the nine involved states that have no already filed written consent to join the litigation. Attorneys for the plaintiffs also plan to request $6.36 million in attorney fees in addition to reimbursement for court costs and out of pocket expenses. As of now there is no set date for a hearing for preliminary approval for the settlement.
The case is: Julio Zorrilla et al. v. Carlson Restaurants Inc. et al., Case No.: 1:14-cv-02740, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
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