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Chili's Restaurant / Quality Dining

This lawsuit seeks to recover unpaid wages for restaurant servers who worked for Chili's restaurants operated by Quality Dining, Inc. in Pennsylvania. Chili’s paid the servers a combination of (i) an hourly wage of $2.83 and (ii) customer tips. Federal and Pennsylvania wage laws generally require that workers receive a minimum wage of $7.25/hour. However, restaurants are allowed to pay as little as $2.83/hour as long as the servers receive tips that make up the difference between $2.83 and $7.25. This provides a big benefit to restaurants. But, in order to take advantage of this benefit, restaurants must follow some strict rules. One rules is that servers tips may not be shared with other restaurant employees who do not interact with customers. In this lawsuit, the servers allege that Chili's violated this rule by requiring the servers to share some of their tips with Expediters (also know as Expos, QAs, and Quality Assurance staff). According to the servers, the Expediters did not significantly interact with the customers and, as a result, the restaurant should have paid the servers $7.25 (instead of $2.83) per hour. Of course, the restaurant denies violating any laws.

As discussed below, this lawsuit is no longer open because the 15 servers we represent have reached a settlement that has been approved by the Judge.

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Case Updates

Mar 22, 2016

Today, we started this lawsuit be filing a class action complaint in the Lehigh County Common Please Court in Allentown, PA. A copy of the complaint is available below.

Apr 22, 2016

Today, the restaurant filed papers "removing" the lawsuit to the United States District Court in Reading, PA.

Apr 27, 2015

Today, we filed an amended complaint that added legal claims under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). A copy of the amended complaint is available below.

May 4, 2016

Today, the restaurant filed a motion asking the Judge to compel this lawsuit to private "arbitration" and to prohibit it from going forward as a class or collective action. This argument is based on the language of arbitration agreements that the servers signed when they started working at the restaurants.

Jun 3, 2016

Today, we filed papers opposing the restaurants motion to compel arbitration and prohibit class/collective litigation. A copy of our opposition papers is available below.

Mar 21, 2017

Today, the Judge granted the restaurant's motion to compel arbitration and prohibit class collective litigation. A copy of the Judge's decision is available below. We will now pursue in arbitration the claims of any servers who have already shown an interest in this lawsuit and express an interest in having our law firm represent them in arbitration proceedings.

Aug 18, 2017

We are very pleased to report that we have been able to reach a settlement on behalf of 15 servers who retailed our law firm to represent them in arbitration proceedings against the restaurant. Because FLSA settlements must be judicially approved as fair and reasonable, the Federal Judge in Reading, PA has agreed to reopen the lawsuit for the limited purpose of reviewing the settlement. A copy of the Judge's order reopening the lawsuit is available below. We think the settlement represents a fair compromise of the legal claims asserted by our 15 clients, and we are hopeful that the Judge will approve the settlement during a September 29, 2017 hearing in Reading, PA.

Sep 29, 2017

Today, the Judge issued an order approving the settlement as fair and reasonable. We are very happy that our 15 hardworking clients will be receiving money from this case. It has been a great privilege to represent them.

Oct 2, 2017

As stated above, the federal court recently approved the settlement last Friday. I just read an informative article about the settlement in the Allentown Morning Call.  Here is a link to the Morning Call article in case you are interested:   http://www.mcall.com/news/police/mc-biz-chilis-server-wage-settlement-20171002-story.html

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