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Applebee's Workers Suit for Unpaid Wages Moves to Second Circuit,

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- 1761 days ago -
Applebee's workers who sued their employer for unpaid wages got good news this week: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has agreed to hear their case

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JL A (281)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 1:39 pm
Applebee’s workers suit for unpaid wages moves to Second Circuit

By: Angela Bradbery

Applebee’s workers who sued their employer for unpaid wages got good news this week: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has agreed to hear their case. The appellate court will decide whether a lower court erred in denying class-action status to the workers. That means that their case lives on.

The case, Roach v. T.L. Cannon Corp., has national implications for workers and consumers and is being closely watched in the legal community. Public Citizen is representing the workers.

Public Citizen petitioned the Second Circuit in April, contending that a federal district court in New York was wrong to tell the Applebee’s workers that their lawsuit for unpaid wages could not be heard as a class action. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York denied class certification after incorrectly interpreting the March 27 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Comcast v. Behrend, we maintain.

The outcome of the New York case has national implications for a wide array of pending class-action cases across the country that are being challenged in the wake of the Comcast decision. If the lower court decision stands, and the workers are not permitted to band together to seek back wages that were illegally withheld by their employer, then wage-and-hour laws and other protections for workers and consumers could become prohibitively difficult to enforce.

In the case, filed in May 2010, four Applebee’s workers allege, among other things, that the exclusive Applebee’s franchise operator in New York State violated the state’s “spread of hours” law requiring employers to pay an extra hour’s pay whenever an employee’s work time spans more than 10 hours in a day, and that restaurant managers had a practice of changing time records to reflect breaks that employees did not take. The workers sought certification of a class encompassing current and former Applebee’s workers throughout the state, a group estimated to include as many as 10,000 individuals.

In a March 5, 2013 report, a magistrate judge recommended certification of the class action for the spread-of-hours claim.

But on March 29, two days after the Comcast ruling, the district court rejected the recommendation and denied class-action status. The district court said that, under Comcast, it could not certify a class for which damages would need to be calculated on an individual basis.

Public Citizen’s petition charges that the district court misread Comcast. In Comcast, an antitrust case, both sides agreed that damages needed to be proved on a classwide basis, so the Supreme Court did not even consider whether an individualized measure of damages forecloses class certification in other types of cases or under other circumstances.

“The district court’s interpretation of Comcast contradicts the well-established principle of law that the need to ascertain damages on an individual basis is not by itself sufficient to prevent certification of a class action,” explained Scott Michelman, the Public Citizen attorney handling the case. “If it were, many types of cases would not go forward.”

Learn more about the case here.

Peggy A (0)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 1:43 pm

Sheryl G (360)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 2:18 pm
This happens so many times in many various jobs. Lower level Managers fearing for their jobs work longer and longer hours on fixed salaried income, teachers do a lot of work at home, Nurses are asked to stay when there are situations arising, which is more frequent with bare bones staff, and serving staff get hit a lot in this area.

I know in many jobs they eliminate employees and distribute the work around. A little here and a little there and before one knows it they are running around like their head is cut off and no thanks or extra pay for it. If one were to add up the hours of uncompensated time it would be staggering.

As laborers, which most of us are, we've been squeezed from all directions, so there is a reason that the $ of wealth in this Country has gone up and not down. Trickle down, right, the only thing that trickled down was in the form of yellow.

Caitlin added a story on about how the Scammers took a lot of people for a ride with their retirement funds. As others find they have no pensions when they retire or the monies in both cases are a lot less than promised.
The Retirement Gamble
As they sit drinking their champagne flying around on those private jets they still want their tax breaks on they have no shame of the Elders who can not or will not be able to heat their homes or eat well. They do not care if the children born today are saddled with the broken system, or the young adults have school debt they will still be paying off well into their life.

I wish them success as we need to have the Courts start backing up the laborers for there is little protections for us anymore.


Kit B (276)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 2:22 pm

I am bit confused about how a case that clearly seems to fall under Fair Labor Standards Act would be denied by a court. That the Second Circuit will hear the arguments is no guarantee that the court will hear the case. I would think this case would be considered by House committee, we shall see. This is an important case, not just for restaurant workers as it does have the ability to reinforce standards and practice. Thanks J L

JL A (281)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 2:45 pm
The primary question before the court now is whether it can be a class action suit or each must handle via individual suits--and it seems that there is legal grounds for class action despite the recent SCOTUS ruling.
You are welcome Kit.

Barbara K (60)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 3:17 pm
Wouldn't it be great if the workers receive much success. It is disgusting to see how some workers are treated. We need the unions up and strong again.

JL A (281)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 3:37 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Terry because you have done so within the last day. It is a sad statement on how trustworthy and ethical some people are indeed Terry.

Sheila D (194)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 4:59 pm
Don't think I'd want the case to go to a House committee, especially in this particular House. Agree that it's an improtant case with ramifications for any non-management position...maybe even for some supervisors and assistants. You can also bet the MegaCorps lawyers are watching this closely.

JL A (281)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 5:04 pm
You cannot currently send a star to GGma Sheila because you have done so within the last day.

Roger G (154)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 5:49 pm
noted, thanks

JL A (281)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 5:56 pm
You are welcome Roger

Twyla Sparks (208)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 8:56 pm
noted Thanks JL

JL A (281)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 9:07 pm
You are welcome Twyla

Katie & Bill D (107)
Tuesday August 27, 2013, 10:55 pm
All the more reason to not lift a finger till you are clocked in, NEVER! Keep track of your own hrs and match them up! Many places will Con you telling you they are so busy you cannot take a break, or lunch! It peak time and Not now Not now! Pushing you till you want to drop. Working all these hrs and this is awful! The managers sure eat always!! But don't look out for the worker's. Yes, we need the Unions here!

Gene Jacobson (290)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 4:48 am
Hey, Applebee's has to pay for those 9.95 happy meals somehow and apparently that is on the backs of their employee's. The entire "food" industry is a joke, a sham, perpetuated on the taxpayers of America. Pay servers slave wages because they get tips, advertise nothing but cheap specials, cheat your staff out of even the meager hourly wage you do pay and then blame them when things go awry. Standard food industry practice for many decades. One wonders if there is any class of workers, apart from CEO's and their sidekicks, that is treated fairly by their employers. And I just can't think of even one example. The 1% is out to create two classes in this country, the poor and themselves. And they're doing it.

. (0)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 9:33 am
Yep and the employees just won their class action suit against BMO Nesbitt Burns. It looks good on them.

JL A (281)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 9:52 am
You cannot currently send a star to Bill and Katie or Gene because you have done so within the last day.

Diane K (134)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 4:27 pm
Noted. Thanks JL

JL A (281)
Wednesday August 28, 2013, 6:39 pm
You are welcome Diane.
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