Ruby Tuesday will pay $3 million settlement in FLSA unpaid overtime class action lawsuit

by Jim Orr

The restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday agreed to pay $3 million to settle a class action lawsuit filed against the company under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The lawsuit alleged that Ruby Tuesday had violated the FLSA by failing to properly pay employees for the hours that they had worked and for denying employees overtime pay that they were entitled to receive under the law.

The class action lawsuit against Ruby Tuesday was filed in the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York by Michael Guttentag and Steven Reeves, a runner/bartender and a server who both had worked for the company in New York. Guttentag and Reeves’s complaint alleged that Ruby Tuesday employees were required to complete a series of tasks set forth in checklists as part of their job duties. However, because of Ruby Tuesday’s scheduling system and staffing guidelines forbidding overtime compensation, bartenders, food runners, and servers at the restaurant are forced to put in time off the clock in order to complete the checklist of tasks.

The class action lawsuit against Ruby Tuesday alleged that the company committed other FLSA violations. The lawsuit alleged that managers at the restaurant chain avoided overtime compensation by “shaving” time from employees who were close to hitting the 40-hour weekly overtime threshold and by preventing employees from clocking in until the start of their shift or until after they had attended meetings before the start of their shift.

According to a settlement agreed to by Ruby Tuesday, the restaurant chain will pay members of the class action case approximately $1.67 million, or about 90 percent of the actual damages that were estimated based on the average time they worked off-the-clock. The settlement will also include $1 million in attorneys’ fees, $275,000 in litigation expenses, and up to $50,000 in service payments to the plaintiffs in the case.

Overtime Pay Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (also known as the Wages and Hours Bill) was passed by Congress in order to ensure that workers were treated fairly and properly compensated for their work by employers. The law introduced the 40 hour work week, established a national minimum wage, guaranteed “time and a half” for overtime work above the 40 hour threshold in certain jobs, and made child labor illegal.

Under the FLSA, employees covered by the Act—known as non-exempt employees—must receive overtime pay for hours worked in excess of a normal 40 hour workweek. These non-exempt employees must be paid at a rate no less than one-half times their regular rates of pay.

When eligible employees who work overtime are not compensated with time and a half by their employer, they may be eligible to file an overtime lawsuit in order to recover lost wages or other damages. Eligible employees may also be able to file an overtime lawsuit under state laws, which may allow for even greater damages to be awarded than what is stipulated in the FLSA.

Some of the types of damages that may be awarded under a FLSA overtime lawsuit may include back wages for unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated damages for double the unpaid overtime amount for employers that acted in bad faith, punitive damages for egregious violations of overtime laws, equitable relief in the form of injunctions to prevent future FLSA violations, and reasonable attorney’s fees and legal costs.

Unpaid Overtime Under FLSA? You May Qualify for a Lawsuit

If you worked at a restaurant as a waiter/waitress, server, host/hostess, cook, or other positions and were unfairly denied overtime compensation by your employer, you may be eligible to file a lawsuit in order to recover unpaid wages and seek additional compensation to while you are entitled. The first step in filing an FLSA overtime lawsuit is securing the services of an experienced attorney to help guide you through your case.

The attorneys at Heygood, Orr & Pearson have represented numerous plaintiffs in various class actions or multi-district litigation cases in Texas, California, and elsewhere in the U.S. Our attorneys are trial attorneys in the truest sense of the term, having tried hundreds of cases to verdict and settled hundreds more. Our attorneys have achieved verdicts and settlements for our clients totaling more than $200 million. In 2010 alone, we negotiated settlements of personal injury and wrongful death claims totaling more than $50 million.

To receive more information about FLSA overtime lawsuits and find out if you qualify to file a claim, contact the lawyers at Heygood, Orr & Pearson by calling toll-free at 1-877-446-9001, or by following the link to our free case evaluation form located on this website.

by Jim Orr

Jim Orr is a licensed attorney and a partner at HO&P focusing on business and personal injury litigation. Jim was selected multiple times to the Super Lawyers List and has tried 70+ cases to verdict.