Case Update: February 15, 2013
Wage and overtime lawsuit seeks collective-action status.
What is the BJ’s Restaurant case about? Check back often for updates. We answer these common questions below:
- What are we claiming to recover?
- How do I join this case?
- Do I have to pay anything?
- Who is eligible to join the BJ’s Restaurant lawsuit?
- What time frame is covered?
- How do I prove how much I am owed?
- Will I be fired for joining this lawsuit?
- Which Locations are Included?
- How do I get more information about the BJ’s Restaurant case?
1. What is the BJ’s Restaurants lawsuit about?
BJ’s Restaurant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by requiring its waiters and waitress to share tips with non-eligible employees. BJ’s also failed to properly inform the wait staff of the legal requirements to take a “tip credit.” Additionally, BJ’s did not pay its wait staff at least at the federal minimum wage ratewhen they performed tasks that did not generate tips, such as cleaning, rolling silverware, and other similar tasks. Because of these violations, the wait staff at BJ’s has filed a “collective action” lawsuit.
The “tip credit” allows an employer to take a credit against its obligation to pay the federal minimum wage. However, an employer must advise the waiters and waitresses in advance of (1) the amount of the cash wage that is to be paid to the tipped employee, (2) the amount by which the wages of the tipped employee are increased on account of the tip credit, (3) that all tips received by the employee must be retained by the employee, and (4) that the tip credit shall not apply to any employee who does not receive the notice.
Further, the FLSA states that when a waiter spends a significant period of work that was not tip generating by preforming non-server duties such as cleaning the kitchen, bathrooms, floors, and dining areas, they should be paid minimum wage, currently at $7.25 per hour. Waiters and waitresses at BJ’s spend more than 20% of their time cleaning, but were paid at the tipped employee rate of $2.13. Accordingly, that time should have been compensated at least at the minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour.
The lawsuit claims BJ’s Restaurant owes its employees unpaid wages, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and court costs to all waiters employed at any time during the last three years.
2. What are we claiming to recover?
The employees seek to recover compensation for their unpaid overtime, liquidated damages, and attorney's fees as required by the FLSA for the past three years before this lawsuit was filed.
3. How do I join this case?
To make a claim in this action under federal law, you must complete a consent form and return it to us for filing with the Court.
4. Do I have to pay anything?
We are handling this case on a contingency basis. This means we will only be paid if the lawsuit is successful in obtaining relief either through a settlement or a final judgment, and that payment will only come out of that settlement or final judgment. If we make no recovery for you, you owe us nothing. Our firm advances all of the case expenses and will request reimbursement only in the event we make a recovery for the employees.
5. Who is eligible to join the BJ’s Restaurant lawsuit?
This lawsuit seeks collective-action certification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If granted, this means all other similarly situated BJ’s Restaurant employees may be able to recover unpaid overtime and minimum wage compensation.
6. What time frame is covered?
There is a federal statute of limitations in this case that allows you to recover pay for overtime hours worked within two (2) years of joining the lawsuit by completing a consent form and returning it to us. If we can prove the company willfully violated the law, the statute of limitations may be extended to three (3) years.
7. How do I prove how much I am owed?
When the employer does not maintain accurate records of the hours you worked, courts permit the employee to make a good-faith estimate of hours worked. Here we will request records from the company and analyze them to help determine how much we claim you are owed. If you do have records, however, you should not throw them away.
8. Will I be fired for joining this lawsuit?
It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against you for joining this lawsuit. Retaliation can include terminating you, changing your hours, reducing your pay, changing your position, or taking any other action in retaliation for joining this lawsuit.
The law protects you from retaliation for asserting your rights and, if you suffer retaliation, you may be able to assert additional claims. If you currently work BJ’s Restaurants and you feel you are the victim of retaliation for being in this lawsuit, contact us immediately so we may bring this to the attention of the Court. Our firm and the courts take claims of retaliation seriously.
9. Which locations are included?
This case is based out of Texas and invite all to contact us for a free case review.
10. How do I get more information about the BJ’s Restaurant case?
If you would like more information that about this case, please contact the attorneys at our firm assigned to prosecute this case at 1-855-947-0707.