Wage Increase

A waitress employed by a Hixson, Tennessee, Ruby Tuesday has filed a class action lawsuit against the popular restaurant chain. The lawsuit alleges that bartenders and servers are underpaid for side work and that the company promotes a corporate culture that encourages employees to work off the clock.

Ruby Tuesday Reportedly Made Employees Do Side Work for Servers' Wages

According to the lawsuit, employees in 44 states at Ruby Tuesday’s 658 restaurants were required to perform side work –- filling ice bins, cutting lemons, rolling silverware –- while being paid as little as $2.13 an hour, which is a server’s wage.

The lawsuit was filed in a Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S. District Court. According to federal regulations, bartenders and servers are allowed to do side work without being tipped; however, it can account for only 20 percent of their time. After they have reached 20 percent, they must be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The lawsuit alleges that the waitress was spending much more than 20 percent of her time doing side work.

Ruby Tuesday Plans "Vigorous Defense"

While the class action lawsuit alleges that bartenders and servers are encouraged to work off the clock without being paid, Ruby Tuesday plans to fight the lawsuit. In a statement, the company said, "While we cannot comment on pending litigation, we are committed to our Ruby Tuesday team members, and we will be providing a vigorous defense..."

Several Restaurants Have Faced Similar Class Action Lawsuits

Several restaurants, such as Logan’s Roadhouse and Applebee’s, have faced class action lawsuits. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court’s ruling against Applebee’s International. This was the ruling that established the 20 percent rule for prep and side work. In the end, Applebee’s International paid out over $9 million total to 5,680 people.

Minimum-Wage Lawsuits Backed by Law

Class action lawsuits that deal with disputes over compliance with wage and hour laws are often filed by service industry employees. However, any employee can file a case when he or she feels employees are not being treated fairly or according to law when it comes to their wages or benefits.