T.G.I. Fridays may not feel so thankful at the end of this week.
The restaurant chain has agreed to pay $19.1 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the company of routinely underpaying servers, bussers and bartenders, according to a court filing.
In April 2014, about a dozen people filed a complaint in the U.S. Southern District of New York accusing the company of improper pay protocols.
The plaintiffs alleged that T.G.I. Fridays “shaved” time off the sheets used to keep track of how many hours staff had worked in an attempt to avoid paying higher overtime wages, as required, when workers clocked more than 40 hours a week.
The employees claimed they were encouraged — and sometimes required — to punch in once they received their first customer, rather than as they arrived at work. Additionally, the plaintiffs contended they spent more than 20 percent of their time cleaning, preparing food and stocking and replenishing the restaurant, for which they were not paid standard minimum wage, but the lower rate reserved for tipped work.
T.G.I. Fridays did not respond to a request for comment.
A proposed settlement agreement filed with the court shows that T.G.I. Fridays parent company, Carlson Restaurants Inc., would be liable for up to $19.1 million, but would not admit to any wrongdoing, should the agreement be adopted.
Since 2014, more than 5,600 plaintiffs signed on to the case, court documents show.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.