The purpose of this Notice is to inform you of the existence of a collective action lawsuit in which you potentially are "similarly situated" to the named Plaintiffs, to advise you of how your rights may be affected by this suit, and to instruct you on the procedure for participating in this suit, should you decide that it is appropriate and should you choose to do so.
2. DESCRIPTION OF THE LAWSUIT.
On January 2, 1996, Bonnie Belcher, Barbara Bennett, Tammy Coward, Darrell Grant, and Sue Judd brought this lawsuit against Defendant Shoney's, Inc. on behalf of themselves and all other past and present employees of Shoney's, Inc. who have been paid on an hourly basis or under a fluctuating pay plan, in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee, alleging that they are owed unpaid wages and overtime pay under the Fair Labor Standards Act:
(a) This lawsuit alleges that Shoney's, Inc. has violated the Act with regard to hourly workers as follows: (1) employees are worked off the clock; (2) employees are not paid for attendance at required employee meetings; (3) employees are not paid for on-duty waiting time; (4) employees who work different jobs with different pay rates are paid minimum and/or overtime wages at the pay rate applicable to the lowest paying job; (5) servers are paid the server's rate of $ 2.13 an hour for performing non-server jobs for which no tips are received and which require that minimum wage or greater be paid; and (6) break time is deducted from the paychecks received by hourly and/or nonexempt employees even though such employees do not receive an uninterrupted 30-minute break.
(b) This lawsuit also alleges that Shoney's, Inc. has violated the Act with regard to employees paid under a fluctuating pay plan by failing to pay the guaranteed weekly salary for workweeks in which a full schedule of hours is not worked; by failing to pay such employees on a "salary basis" by, for example, subjecting their wages to deductions for restaurant cash shortages and/or other casualty losses; and by failing to compensate such employees for all hours worked in a given workweek.
Plaintiffs alleged that they are entitled to recover unpaid wages and overtime pay for all the years that Defendant Shoney's, Inc. failed to properly compensate them because the actions of Shoney's, Inc. were willful. Plaintiffs also seek an additional equal amount as liquidated damages and/or prejudgment interest, attorneys' fees and costs. This lawsuit is currently in the early pretrial stage.
Shoney's, Inc. has denied Plaintiffs' allegations that it engages in these practices. Shoney's, Inc. also maintains that any failure to properly compensate employees was without the knowledge and contrary to the instructions of appropriate management officials. Shoney's, Inc. states that it exercised good faith in its application of the Fair Labor Standards Act to its employees.
3. COMPOSITION OF THE CLASS.
The five named-Plaintiffs seek to sue on behalf of themselves and also on behalf of other employees with whom they are similarly situated. Specifically, the Plaintiffs seek to sue on behalf of any and all employees who are or have been, at any time within the past three (3) years:
(a) employed at a Shoney's, Inc. concept restaurant that was owned and operated by Shoney's, Inc., on an hourly basis or under a fluctuating pay plan; and
(b)(i) regarding employees paid on an hourly basis, did not receive wages or overtime as a result of the practices described in Paragraph 2(a); and/or
(ii) regarding workers paid under a fluctuating pay plan, did not receive wages or overtime as a result of the practices described in Paragraph 2(b); or were "subject to" a policy which allegedly violated the "salary basis" requirement as described in Paragraph 2(b). The term "subject to" means that an employee could have been the object of an illegal practice, even if he or she was not actually the object of an illegal practice. For example, this would include an employee whose salary could have been illegally reduced but whose salary was not actually reduced.
4. YOUR RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS SUIT.
If you fit the definition above, you may join this suit (that is, you may "opt in") by mailing the "Consent to Become Party Plaintiff" form to Plaintiffs' counsel at the following address:
M. Reid Estes, Jr., Esquire
Stewart, Estes & Donnell