A class-action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of several former employees at the Bob Evans restaurants in Athens and Parkersburg, West Virginia, alleging that the restaurant chain has violated the Fair Labor Standards Act and other state and federal laws that concern wages.
Plaintiffs Regina Jensen and Rebecca Bailey live in Athens County, and plaintiff Vickie Rash lives in Wood County, West Virginia. The Bob Evans restaurants in Ohio and West Virginia are the targets of the lawsuit. All of these employees worked at these restaurants for more than 20 years, the suit states.
The defendant in this case, Bob Evans Farms, LLC, has not yet filed a response to this suit.
The suit alleges, among other things, that once the plaintiffs and other servers finished their shifts and were no longer taking customers, managers told them to “get off my clock!” The lawsuit alleges that the managers would then clock them out and require them to finish their non-tipped work (tasks ranging from mopping the floors to cleaning the kitchen to slicing ingredients to stock up the salad case) without pay so that the managers could meet Bob Evans’ “labor targets,” meaning those servers allegedly regularly spent 15-30 minutes working without pay each shift.
“Defendants employed a uniform policy whereby plaintiffs and the members of the classes… were required to regularly work for the benefit of the defendants while their hours were not being properly paid, classified or recorded…” the suit alleges. “Plaintiffs and the members of the classes are entitled to minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime for hours over 40 in a week. Defendants’ policy required plaintiffs and similarly situated individuals to work while they were off the clock, and required them to perform non-tipped work unrelated to their tipped occupation and excessive amounts of non-tipped work even if related to their tipped occupation, while being paid the sub-minimum tip credit wage rate.”
The suit was filed by Athens and Chicago-based lawyer Michael Fradin, who previously filed a similar lawsuit against the company that owns the Athens Buffalo Wild Wings. That case resulted in a roughly $1 million settlement for 1,200 current and former employees of that franchise.
The Bob Evans lawsuit also alleges that the employees were required to pay from their tips for customer walkouts, which violates the FLSA.
The suit additionally alleges that the employees were paid a sub-minimum tip-credit wage of approximately $2.13 to $4.08 per hour (in Ohio, the minimum tipped wage is $4.30, which amounts to an average of around $8.55 per hour when tips are included).
All current and former servers who worked at Bob Evans restaurants in West Virginia or Ohio in the last several years are eligible members of the class-action lawsuit.
The suit seeks a large number of claims for relief, including a judgment that the practices complained of in the lawsuit are “unlawful,” and an order enjoining the defendants from continuing to do so. In addition, it seeks an award of the estimated unpaid minimum wages and overtime owed to each staffer, in addition to other compensation, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.