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California Court Decides Class Action Lawsuit Against Hooters Can Proceed

February 21, 2012

New developments have emerged in the California class-action wage and hour lawsuit, against a San Francisco Bay-area Hooters franchise--that our Anaheim labor and employment attorney blog previously discussed--after a California state appeals court ruled this week that the lawsuit, filed by a group of Hooters waitresses last year, can proceed.

The California Court of Appeals for the First District reportedly denied the request of Hot Wings Inc., the local Hooters franchise--that asked for the employment complaints to be settled outside of court by a labor arbitrator. The court decision found that the franchise did not move forward in a timely enough manner to demand that the case move to arbitration--a legal choice that would have limited litigation in the future, and made all of the case proceedings private.

Hot Wings Inc. reportedly asked for arbitration based on the standard employment agreements that every employee must sign before working for the company--and although the court ruled that the agreements were valid, the company reportedly waited too long to demand that the case should be settled through arbitration.

The result of the ruling allows the nineteen Hooters waitresses to move forward with their class action wage and hour lawsuit, that claims that the Hooters franchise violated numerous state and federal wage and hour laws--by failing to pay proper minimum wage and overtime, forcing the workers to share their tips with managers, and forcing the employees to work through their rest and meal breaks, among other wage and hour violations.

The lawsuit also accuses the Hooters franchise of forcing each worker to pay and maintain their own uniform--a very specific costume that according to the employees requires many special components including orange short shorts, a tank top with the restaurant's logo, special shoes, and nude pantyhose, all of which are allegedly expensive.

As Vincent Howard reported in our Riverside employment lawyer blog, California law requires that any specialized uniform be paid for by the employer--a law that the waitresses claim Hooters is breaking--by failing to reimburse them for all of their expenses that are reasonably incurred throughout the course of being a Hooters waitress.

The workers are also claiming that Hooters forced them to make promotional appearances without compensating them for their time, and to show up and work for free at public places like golf tournaments, car shows, and car washes, and local businesses.

The class action wage and hour lawsuit reportedly covers employees who worked at Hooters restaurants in Dublin, Campbell, and Fremont, California along with the Hooters restaurant in San Francisco that is no longer in operation.

Our Anaheim-based employment attorneys and professionals represent employees who have experienced wage and hour issues in the California workplace. Contact Howard Law, PC today, for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Lawsuit Accusing Hooters of Mistreating Employees Can Proceed, San Francisco Weekly, February 17, 2012

Hooters servers' class-action remains in court, Mercury News, February 17, 2012

Related Web Resources:

U.S. Department of Labor: Wage and Hour Division (WHD), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Department of Labor (DOL): Wage and Hour Division (WHD)

Related Blog Posts:

DOL Wage and Hour Investigation Forces South Florida Restaurants To Pay Nearly $700K in Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 5, 2011

DOL Continues Long Island Wage and Hour Enforcement Initiative to Stop FLSA Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, December 3, 2011

DOL Recovers Over $2.3M in Wage and Hour Back Wages for 578 NY Restaurant Workers, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 30, 2011

Restaurant Pays $83K in Back Wages for Overtime, Minimum Wage Violations of FLSA, California Employment Lawyers Blog, November 17, 2011

DOL Forces Wok King Restaurant to Pay $531K in Wage and Hour Violations, California Employment Lawyers Blog, October 10, 2011

CA Wage and Hour Lawsuit Settlement--66 Japanese Employees to Receive $145K in Overtime Back Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, August 22, 2011

Taqueria Restaurant to Pay Workers Nearly $250K in Overtime Back Pay and Minimum Wages, California Employment Lawyers Blog, June 15, 2011

Feds Crack Down on Wage and Hour Violations in NY Restaurants, California Employment Lawyers Blog, April 15, 2011

Hooters Reveals Increase in California Class-Action Lawsuits, California Employment Lawyers Blog, April 13, 2010

Female Employees Sue Hooters in Class Action California Wage and Hour Lawsuit, California Employment Lawyers Blog, April 9, 2010