The famous restaurant chain, Denny’s Inc., has recently agreed to settle a lawsuit filed against it on behalf of approximately 25,000 current and former employees. The class action wage and hour lawsuit, which was filed in California, alleged Denny’s violated both the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and California labor law.
The FLSA protects all hourly employees working in the United States by defining things like minimum wage and overtime. The federal minimum wage is currently set at $7.25 per hour and, under the FLSA, overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. All hourly, nonexempt employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all the overtime they work.
In addition to the FLSA, each state and city has its own labor laws designed to protect the employees working within their area. All employers conducting business in the United States need to be careful to make sure they’re abiding by all relevant federal and local labor laws.
California, for example, requires its employers to provide all their hourly, non-exempt workers with regular breaks throughout the workday. Under California labor law, for every four hours of work, employees are entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every five hours worked, employees are entitled to one, unpaid uninterrupted meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of pay, in addition to all wages, tips and bonuses earned that day.
The class action wage and hour lawsuit filed against Denny’s alleges the restaurant chain failed to provide its employees with the proper overtime compensation when they worked more than forty hours a week. The lawsuit further alleges Denny’s did not always pay employees even for the straight time they worked.
The class action lawsuit also filed claims under California labor law, accusing the restaurant chain of failing to provide its California workers with their meal and rest breaks and failing to properly compensate them for those missed breaks.
Denny’s has offered to settle the lawsuit for $950,000 and the class of plaintiffs have agreed this is a fair settlement. A court has already granted preliminary approval for the terms of the settlement and now the class has petitioned a federal court to grant final approval. Once a federal judge provides final approval of the settlement, payments can start going out and the parties can put the matter behind them for good.
Of the $950,000 in settlement money, the class counsel has asked for $343,511 to cover their fees and costs associated with filing the lawsuit and negotiating the terms of the contract. Guillermo Lemus, the named plaintiff, will receive $10,000 as an enhancement award for filing the lawsuit. Almost $95,000 will go to the claims administrator, and $22,500 in penalties will be paid to the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency.
That leaves almost $480,000 for payments to the class members, but only 2,415 members submitted valid claims before the deadline of April 6. Their claims amounted to less than $418,000 so the rest will be divided among them based on the number of hours they worked in the class period.
Our overtime attorneys are investigating unpaid overtime claims against Denny’s.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including Hilton, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Extended Stay America, Staybridge Suites, Best Western, HomeTown Buffet, Old Country Buffet, Applebees, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Skokie and Evanston. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Schaumburg, Gurnee and Waukegan overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.