A New York federal court has granted conditional class certification to plaintiffs employed by T.G.I. Friday’s who allege underpayment for side work and lack of payment for overtime work in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Flood v. Carlson Restaurants Inc., No. 14-2740 (U.S. Dist. Ct., S.D.N.Y., filed April 17, 2014). The restaurant employs as many as 42,000 tipped workers throughout the United States who are eligible to join the nationwide class.
T.G.I. Friday’s argued that the named plaintiffs were not similar enough to merit class certification, but the court disagreed, finding that the plaintiffs’ “declarations and depositions—which cover eight T.G.I. Friday’s locations in four states—contain common allegations of FLSA violations, including Defendants’ denial of full minimum wage and overtime compensation for tipped workers.” The court dismissed the restaurant’s arguments on the merits of the case, noting that those issues could not be addressed at the class certification stage, and directed the parties to meet to determine the form and dissemination of notice. Additional information about the complaint appears in Issue 521 of this Update.