Applebee’s Franchise Ordered to Pay Employees for Violations of Minimum Wage Laws
Last week, an Illinois District Court judge ruled in favor of Applebee’s employees in a class action lawsuit that alleged Applebee’s failed to pay its servers, bartenders, and hostesses minimum wage for time spent performing “non-tippable” work. In Illinois, employers are required to pay tipped employees minimum wage, but employers can take a tip credit from their employees against the minimum wage for up to 40% of the tipped wages. At Applebee’s, employees were required to participate in such a tip pool, often having to pay more than 15% of their total tips regardless of the kind of work they were actually performing.
Further, Applebee’s also took the tip-credit too far by paying the same wages for “tippable” work, i.e., serving/waiting on customers, as for “non-tippable” work. Such duties included cleaning bathroom toilets, sinks, mirrors, and urinals; wiping down walls, polishing paneling; mopping floors; and loading dishwashers. The judge ruled that these tasks were “so far removed from tipped occupation” that Applebee’s violated minimum wage and tipping laws by engaging in its employment practices.
California has some of the strongest employee-rights’ laws in the country. If you have been paid below minimum wage, had your tips taken away, or been forced to contribute to a tip-sharing pool with employees who do not actually serve customers, please contact the attorneys at Khorrami, LLP for a free consultation regarding your potential legal claims.