A California resident has filed a putative class action against Brinker International, Inc., alleging that when she worked for one of its Chili’s Grill & Bar Restaurants she was not paid minimum wage, because the company “fraudulently and maliciously caused Plaintiff and Class members to make up the restaurants’ cash shortages.” Eldred v. Brinker Int’l, Inc., No. 56-2011-00403808 (Cal. Super. Ct., Ventura County, filed September 15, 2011). According to the complaint, if a customer leaves the restaurant without paying or does not leave enough money to pay the entire tab, “it is defendant’s corporate policy to either inform the server that he or she has to pay for the walkout or that server will be written up and if it happens again that server may be terminated. Defendant uses the threat of termination to induce class members to pay for walkouts out of their own money.”
Alleging failure to pay minimum wage, labor code violations, and unfair business practices, the plaintiff seeks to certify a statewide class of Chili’s servers and also requests compensatory damages, restitution, injunctive relief, interest, costs, and attorney’s fees.