A former server who worked at several Tennessee Waffle House locations has filed suit against the restaurants’ operating company alleging that he improperly received a reduced, tip-credited wage when he was entitled to the full minimum wage rate.
According to the proposed collective action, the plaintiff, who worked for defendant Mid South Waffles, Inc. for 19 years, was compensated with a sub-minimum hourly wage of $1.20 plus customer tips. The plaintiff argues that this wage was inappropriate, however, given that the defendant maintained “a company-wide policy and practice” that requires servers to spend more than 20 percent of each shift performing non-tipped duties, such as cleaning floors, washing walls and windows, cleaning vents, and doing dishes. The plaintiff alleges he spent approximately 70 to 80 percent of each shift performing non-tipped work for which he unlawfully received less than the minimum wage.
The lawsuit further claims that the defendant had a “company-wide practice” of inputting “an arbitrary amount of cash tips into the timekeeping computer system” that misrepresented the amount of tips the plaintiff and other servers earned.
“Not only would this practice result in Plaintiff and Servers often not receiving the $6.05 tip credit as required by the FLSA, Plaintiff and Servers would have to pay taxes on tips they did not actually earn,” the complaint explains.
In sum, the plaintiff claims he was deprived of the legally required minimum wage and time-and-a-half overtime compensation.