Many of the Applebee’s employees fall under the non-exempt category of employment and MUST be paid overtime wages according to the guidelines laid out in the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA). The FLSA sets the overtime rate for non-exempt employees at time and one-half their standard rate of pay for any time worked over 40 hours in a single week.
The FLSA regulations do not apply to “administrative” or “professional” employees due to exemptions preventing specific categories of employees from receiving overtime pay.
Exemptions are not based entirely on one’s job title, however. Whether or not an employee should receive overtime pay is calculated by the hours worked, the rate of pay, the job duties, and even the job description.
It’s always a good idea to speak with an attorney with experience in overtime pay laws due to issues with additional state laws governing overtime pay. These laws sometimes overlap federal laws and further complicate or contradict the FLSA.
Founded in 1980 by T.J Palmer and brother, Applebee’s today operates more than 1,936 restaurants in the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam and 15 other countries. Although its parent company, DineEquity (owner of IHOP), is headquartered in Missouri, Applebee’s locations are licensed on a franchise basis and therefore independently owned and operated. In general, the Applebee’s concept focuses on casual dining, with mainstream American dishes such as salads, chicken, pasta, burgers, and “rib-lets” forming its canon of cuisine. Applebee’s is recognized for its red apple trade dress accompanied by green print, and boasts the slogan “Eatin’ Good in the Neighborhood,” suggesting its position as a neighborhood staple. Moreover, Applebee’s shows strong revenues and proves to be an employment giant, generating roughly $2.5 billion annually with the help of its 28,000 person workforce. However, since 2006, Applebee’s and its servers have been engaged in several lawsuits over hourly wage, alleging that the company requires them to spend 20% of their time doing non-serving labor, for which they should be compensated at the federal minimum wage of $7.25 (rather than the tipped employee rate of $2.13). Nevertheless, Applebee’s remains a household name, recognized both domestically and abroad, and therefore is watchfully under the public eye.
Numerous non-exempt Applebee’s employees may be required to start before their shifts or even work after their shifts finish off the clock. It is not uncommon for employees to work double shifts as well. Because of this, if many Applebee’s employees exceed 40 working hours in a single week, they should receive overtime pay.
Employers have been known to illegally misclassify positions to avoid paying overtime. For instance, Applebee’s shift or location managers may have been labeled “managers” with the goal of marking them exempt from overtime pay. However, these employees are in fact non-exempt because of the nature of their job duties.
Often companies label employees as managers even though they do not fill vital roles for the business. The FLSA dictates that “managers” must have specific abilities, for instance, hiring or firing employees, making schedules, or completing other tasks that are essential to the running of the business. Typically these employees do not perform these duties and are instead only labeled as managers for employers to save money by avoiding paying overtime.
Another unlawful practice that the Applebee’s may perform is having employees clock in before a shift or asking them to stay after a shift without compensating them. This practice of manipulating time cards to keep payroll costs down is a violation of the FLSA and can result in a lawsuit.
How Can a FLSA Lawyer Help You
An experienced lawyer can analyze your case and see if you are entitled to lost overtime wages from Applebee’s by evaluating how state and federal laws apply to your situation.
Does Applebee’s Have to Pay Overtime Wages to Employees?
For the most part, Applebee’s must pay overtime to non-exempt employees who work more than 40 hours in a week as long as they are not excluded by the FLSA. However, these exemptions become more complicated by some states that have additional laws governing them.
If you feel like you have been denied overtime wages, then it is in your best interest to consult an attorney with FLSA experience and knowledge of state overtime laws.
Are There Other Overtime Pay Lawsuits Involving Applebee’s?
Here are a few examples from the many previous lawsuits that have been issued against other employers for failing to pay overtime wages:
Justia lists Applebee’s as a defendant in at least 125 lawsuits since 2004
Most notably, in 2017 a Federal judge granted certification to a wage lawsuit alleging improper compensation against 23 Applebee’s restaurants.
If you feel as though Applebee’s or any another employer has denied you overtime wages, you could have a case. Please get in touch with the Lemberg Law legal team. Complete our form for a FREE case evaluation, or call 844-685-9200 NOW. Lemberg Law will evaluate your case as see if you are eligible to receive lost overtime wages as a non-exempt employee.
About the Author:
Sergei Lemberg is a lawyer whose practice focuses on consumer law, class actions and personal injury litigation. He has been repeatedly recognized as the “most active consumer attorney” in the country. In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid in the United States Supreme Court in the case entitled Duguid v. Facebook. He is the author of Defanging Debt Collectors, a book that teaches consumers how to battle debt collectors and win.