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Greene Turtle Wage Dispute Gets Class-Action Status

September 16, 2010

Getting paid as a waiter or bartender is all about the tips, since the gig generally pays below minimum wage. What such workers may not know is that their employers, in order to offer such low wages lawfully, must formally notify them that they’re taking advantage of the “tip credit” provision of the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

According to a lawsuit brought this year against the Greene Turtle—which has numerous locations in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.—employees were not so notified, and as a result are claiming to be owed the difference between their actual wages and the minimum wage, along with proper overtime pay.

On Sept. 14, U.S. District Court judge Catherine Blake ruled (see memorandum, attached below) that the case can go class-action, meaning other Greene Turtle employees can opt to join as plaintiffs. Blake’s ruling noted that “it appears that the plaintiffs, and other similarly situated employees, may not have been informed that a tip credit was taken against the applicable minimum wage,” but added that she’s granting class-action status “without determining whether the plaintiffs ultimately will prevail, nor attempting to define the parameters of the statutory duty to ‘inform.’”

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Howard Hoffman, has a web page to inform and assist employees who may be interested in joining the case, and also issued a press release about Blake’s ruling (attached below).

Greene Turtle Memorandum

Greene Turtle Press Release

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