Applebee’s Servers and Bartenders Seek Justice under the Fair Labor Standards Act

Applebee’s is facing a lawsuit that claims they are underpaying more than 5,500 of their servers and bartenders. The popular restaurant chain asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an appeal of the lawsuit, citing what it believes is a wrongful interpretation of part of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Applebee’s claims that under the FLSA employers can pay employees $2.13 an hour, as long as they receive tips that allow them to make at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25. According to the lawsuit, Applebee’s is is liable for unpaid wages because the provision in the Fair Labor Standards Act does not apply to workers who spend more than 20% of their time working on tasks that do not result in customers tipping them. The lawsuit against Applebee’s is something restaurant bartenders and servers across the nation should be watching very closely. The case is another example of dining establishments across the country who do not want to be required to pay their workers the minimum wage, while employees feel that if they’re not earning tips for the duties they are performing, they should be making at least the minimum wage. Fortunately for employees, the Department of Labor agrees with employees in the Applebee’s case. The bartenders and servers of Applebee’s claimed that they spend more than 20 percent of their time cleaning, keeping track of inventory, preparing silverware for diners, and stocking the serving areas. After a federal appeals court ruled that the lawsuit proceed, the National Restaurant Association and the United States Chamber of Commerce supported the appeal by Applebee’s. If you find yourself like one of the more than 5.500 employees of Applebee’s who believe their rights are being violated under the Fair Labor Standards Act, contact us today.      

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