Two local waitresses recently resolved a class action lawsuit against Texas Roadhouse with a $700,000 settlement.
According to the lawsuit, Texas Roadhouse servers and other tipped employees were required to contribute a portion of their gross sales into a tip pool. The tip pool was used to pay back-of-the-house kitchen staff who would not normally receive tips. The lawsuit claimed that forcing the servers to share their tips violated The Fair Labor Standards Act.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employers are prohibited from using an employee’s tips for any reason other than as a credit against its minimum wage obligation to the employee or in furtherance of a valid tip pool. However, a valid tip pool may not include employees who do not customarily and regularly received tips, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors. The back-of-the-house employees in the Texas Roadhouse case seem to fit the above description of the employees who do not customarily receive tips. For more information on tipped employees under The Fair Labor Standards Act, you can visit this page on the Department of Labor’s website.
Although Texas Roadhouse attempted to keep the settlement private, Judge Terry Wooten ruled “the public’s right to access the settlement agreement” was not outweighed by the company’s desire for secrecy. The corporate headquarters of Texas Roadhouse in Louisville, K.Y., provided this in a statement, “This case, which involved two of our franchise locations in South Carolina, has been resolved. Texas Roadhouse Inc., which was dismissed from the case, denied the allegations.”
Unfortunately, unfair labor practices and wage payment claims are all too common. The South Carolina Employment Lawyers at the Strom Law Firm work to protect the rights of employees subjected to unfair wage payment practices under the South Carolina Wage Payment Act and Fair Labor Standards Act. If you feel that you have not been paid for hours worked, call us today for a free consultation at (803) 252-4800. You can also learn more about your rights as an employee and what to do in an employment dispute at our South Carolina Employment Lawyers Page.