The operator of a Nashville Popeyes franchise is alleged to have violated federal labor law by denying employees proper overtime wages and failing to pay them at all for their final week or weeks of employment.
The plaintiff in the proposed collective action is a former general manager who says she was instructed by defendant Gallatin Chicken LLC to withhold proper wages from employees or risk losing her job. After the plaintiff complained about the defendant’s pay practices, the Popeyes operator allegedly retaliated against the woman by refusing to pay her final wages upon separation and then interfering with her subsequent employment prospects.
The case alleges the defendant violated both state and federal labor laws by failing to properly pay its workers and retaliating against an employee for engaging in protected activities, i.e., complaining about perceived labor law violations.
Gallatin Chicken, the suit says, operates a Popeyes restaurant on Gallatin Pike in Nashville at which the plaintiff was employed as a general manager from December 2018 to January 2019. In her role as general manager, the plaintiff was instructed to pay non-exempt employees for overtime hours at their straight-time pay rates instead of the time-and-a-half overtime rates required by state and federal law, the suit alleges. Moreover, Gallatin Chicken told the plaintiff not to pay separated employees for their final week or weeks of employment, according to the case.
The plaintiff claims that after she complained to Gallatin Chicken that its pay practices were unlawful—a protected activity under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the suit notes—she was given the choice of either violating the law or losing her job.
“By forcing [the plaintiff] to choose between acting within the law or losing her job, Defendant retaliated against her for FLSA–protected activities,” the complaint alleges.
According to the case, the defendant failed to pay the plaintiff for her final two weeks of work.
After the plaintiff left her job at Gallatin Chicken, the defendant contacted her subsequent employer and falsely claimed she was “unreliable” and shouldn’t be hired, the suit says. The lawsuit claims the defendant’s actions were merely illegal retaliation for the plaintiff’s complaints about its pay practices.
The plaintiff looks to represent anyone who worked for the defendant and ended their employment between July 23, 2018 and the present.
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