NEW YORK, July 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- A New York federal court conditionally certified two class action lawsuits alleging that managers of 36 Applebee's Neighborhood Bar & Grill franchise restaurants in the metro New York area systematically altered employee time records to avoid paying minimum and overtime wages to thousands of current and former employees, The Ottinger Firm, P.C. announced today.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Cheryl L. Pollak of the Eastern District of New York granted the plaintiffs' motion for conditional collective action certification under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law (NYLL).
The Court's order granting conditional certification covers all eligible non-managerial employees who have worked at the 36 restaurants in New York City, and Rockland and Westchester Counties since October 22, 2009. The restaurants currently employ about 4,000 men and women who fall within the certified classes, but thousands of others could be eligible to participate – or "opt in" – the lawsuit as well, according to The Ottinger Firm.
The first case – the "Martin" case – involves a class of all non-managerial employees at the restaurants. The second case – the "Dove" case – involves a sub-class of the same employees who received part of their income in the form of tips.
The court ordered the defendants to provide contact information for all employees within the class – servers, hosts, cooks, expediters, runners, dishwashers, maintenance workers, and bartenders – so that they can receive a court-authorized notice of the lawsuit and form to join the litigation. The court also ordered that "conspicuous" notice of the lawsuit be posted in each of the restaurants. The class action notice is expected to be distributed in the next 30 days or so.
The workers are represented by Ariel Y. Graff and Robert W. Ottinger, of The Ottinger Firm, P.C.'s New York office, and Douglas Levine, Michael J. Borrelli, and Daniela Nanau, of Borrelli & Associates PLLC, in Great Neck, N.Y.
Ariel Y. Graff, of The Ottinger Firm, said, "This is a notable victory for thousands of New York City-area Applebee's workers whose hard work helped the company prosper, but were not paid in compliance with the federal and state labor law. We are pleased the court conditionally certified this class action and look forward to moving forward with the case."
The cases are "Carlos Marin, et al., v. Apple-Metro, Inc., et al.," and "Shaunta Dove, et al., v. Apple-Metro, Inc., et al.," No. 1:12-cv-05274 in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.
Contact: Ariel Y. Graff, The Ottinger Firm, P.C., New York, 212.571.2000, www.ottingerlaw.com.
SOURCE The Ottinger Firm, P.C.