Six operating companies and two individual owners of Captain George’s restaurants find themselves as defendants in a proposed collective action alleging wage and hour violations.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants own and operate four Captain George’s seafood buffet restaurants in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The two plaintiffs, who worked as servers for the defendants, allege they were deprived of proper minimum and overtime wages.
According to the complaint, the defendants unlawfully required servers to surrender a portion of their tips to be distributed among non-tipped employees. Specifically, the plaintiffs claim they had to give between $4 to $7 of their tips to silverware rollers at the end of each shift.
“[The plaintiff] was given the one-time option of rolling her own silverware every day, according to management, instead of tipping out the silverware rollers, but she was told that she could not roll the silverware on the company’s time (i.e., on the clock),” the complaint reads.
Further, the plaintiffs allege they were required to give an additional two or three percent of their tips to the defendants themselves. The plaintiffs say they were also subjected to improper wage practices when they were required to purchase “tools of the trade,” such as uniforms and bottle openers, and pay out of pocket for customer walkouts.
The suit goes on to argue the plaintiffs were improperly compensated at a tip-credited wage because they spent over 20 percent of their shifts performing non-tipped duties. Moreover, the defendants failed to provide the plaintiffs with proper notice of their tip-credited wage rate, the case claims, further indicating they were not entitled to take a tip credit against the workers’ wages.
The case contains additional claims that employees were either not properly compensated for hours worked in excess of 40 or were paid at a rate lower than time-and-a-half.