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Applebee’s Workers Win Compensation In Wage Class Action Lawsuit

By Matt O’Donnell


Applebee'sAn Illinois Applebee’s franchise has been ordered to compensate servers and bartenders for non-tipped work they performed like cleaning and dishwashing that they didn’t get paid minimum wage for, a federal judge ruled.

AppleIllinois LLC, which operates 34 Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill restaurants, faces a class action lawsuit from servers, bartenders and hostesses who claim up to 20 percent of their shift was spent performing non-tipped work. AppleIllinois did not pay the workers minimum wage for the time spent on these duties.

The Applebee’s workers also claim in the class action lawsuit that they had to contribute 2.5% of sales per shift to a tip pool, which often exceeded 15% of total tips actually received.

U.S. District Judge Geraldine Brown sided with the workers last week in a ruling for partial summary judgment.

“The evidence demonstrates that AppleIllinois employees working at tip credit rates did those duties for much longer periods of time than can be fairly characterized as occasional, incidental or insignificant,” Judge Brown ruled. “Rather, employees working at tip credit rates were regularly used instead of minimum wage workers to do those tasks.”

“AppleIllinois’ executives themselves recognize that some tasks are plainly outside a tipped occupation,” such as mopping floors or cleaning bathrooms, Brown added.
However, “it is striking how often the current employees (in declarations that were submitted by AppleIllinois) describe their regular duties as including the very things that the executives state should not be done by tipped employees: cleaning bathrooms including toilets, sinks, mirrors and urinals; wiping down walls; polishing paneling with Pledge or lemon oil; mopping or scrubbing floors; and loading the dishwasher,” Brown continued.
“In addition, they report doing other tasks that are so far removed from a tipped occupation that they cannot be reasonably regarded as ‘related’ duties as that term is used in the dual jobs regulation, for example: washing windows; cleaning chandeliers; picking up trash in the parking lot; taking out garbage; restocking bathrooms; and dumping and refilling the ‘sani’ bucket.”
“The court concludes that Plaintiffs have demonstrated that, as a regular practice, AppleIllinois employed its tipped workers in ‘dual jobs,’ that is, in both tipped and non-tipped occupations,” Brown added.
“Contrary to AppleIllinois’ fears, enforcing the dual jobs regulation does not prohibit ‘a team-oriented approach to serving customers.’ It simply requires that when tipped employees are also required to perform the work of minimum wage workers, they get paid the minimum wage.”

Judge Brown ruled that Plaintiffs in the Applebee’s worker class action lawsuit may establish damages at a future hearing.

The case is Glenn Driver, et al. v. AppleIllinois, LLC, Case No. 6-cv-6149, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.


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Updated September 4th, 2012


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  • Angela Coburn January 7, 2013

    I worked at one of these Applebees for 6 years full time. I knew nothing of this lawsuit. Is it too late to be compensated?

    Angela Coburn

  • Cortney mays February 7, 2013

    Oi worked at Applebee’s in virgInia and did not receive this settlement
    .. How do I file together mine?

  • STEPHANIE CAMPBELL February 16, 2013

    I received a w-2 from this settlement but not a check for the amount. Where do I need to go to receive the settlement.

  • Lisa A Johnson March 26, 2013

    What do i do to receive payment from applebees lawsuit

  • crystal April 4, 2013

    how can i do something about the applebees i used to work in? i went through hell an back in that place doing all that work that yall just said.. i didnt know that this was in afect at all.. i just reently got fied forsomething that wasnt my fault and i would like to get back all that time and money that i didnt get for staying there fo so long cleaning and doing all that stuff that had nothing to do with serving. about years ago i told some of my co workers that we should be doing all this work for the little money we used to make on some days.. i used to complain all the time but the only thing they said to me was quit complaing were tired of hearing it an i thought there was something going on i knew that was alot of shit we had to do for not that much money. what can i do about it??

  • Connie bower January 9, 2015

    How do I join the lawsuit I worked there for almost four years never heard anything about this

  • Diana Campbell October 25, 2015

    I’m worked for the bee’s for 13 years opening every weekend from 9:30 to 11:00 am on a sever wage $2.13 an hour. I’m was also told to GU. All day while serving at $2.13 an hour.

  • Amanda Leigh Roberts March 23, 2016

    I worked for Applebee’s in Roanoke Va for nine years. I had heard about a lawsuit concerning wages and I believe I should be involved in the case. I would like to know how to get the information to be included in the case.

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