Many of the Hooters 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.
What is Hooters?
Hooters, Inc. is the trade name of two privately held American restaurant chains, both bearing the eponymous branding. The Hooters name is a double entendre referring to both its distinctive owl logo, a bird known for its “hooting” calls, and an American slang term for women’s breasts popularized by comedian Steve Martin. The waiting staff as Hooters restaurants are primarily young women, usually referred to simply as “Hooter Girls”, whose revealing outfits are played up and remain the primary component of the company’s image. The company also employs men as cooks, hosts, busboys, and managers. The menu includes hamburgers and other sandwiches, steaks, seafood entrees, appetizers, and the restaurant specialty: chicken wings. Hooters has been plagued by legal issues in the past, primarily related to EEOC claims. Notwithstanding legal mishaps, Hooters remains an iconic American brand and ubiquitous franchise.
Can Hooters Employees Earn Overtime Wages?
Numerous non-exempt Hooters 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 Hooters 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, Hooters 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 Hooters 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 Hooters by evaluating how state and federal laws apply to your situation.
Does Hooters Have to Pay Overtime Wages to Employees?
For the most part, Hooters 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 Hooters?
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 at least 9 lawsuits alleging violations to the FLSA by varying Hooters franchisees
- Hooters has been the recipient of numerous EEOC lawsuits despite sporting a bona fide occupational qualification in their employment contract
If you feel as though Hooters 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.