More than 30 Current & Former Employees Win $665,000 from Settlement of Unpaid Wage Dispute Against Popular West Virginia BBQ Restaurant
The law firms of Brian G. Miller Co., L.P.A. and Barkan, Meizlish, DeRose & Cox, LLP – both based in Columbus, Ohio – are pleased to announce a settlement of $665,000 on behalf of more than 30 plaintiffs in a collective and class action dispute over unpaid wages against the owners of Dee Jays BBQ Ribs and Grille, which is based in West Virginia. The settlement of the dispute (Case No. 5:22-cv-00006-JPB), filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia, was approved by Judge John P. Bailey on December 15, 2022. As a result of the settlement approval, the case was also dismissed with prejudice (settlement and dismissal order attached for reference).
The lawsuit was originally filed on January 3, 2022, by plaintiff Chasity D. Adkins on behalf of herself and other current and former employees of Mt. Nebo Foods, LLC, and Dewey J. Guida Enterprises, Inc., d/b/a Dee Jay’s BBQ Ribs & Grille. The suit alleged violations of the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the West Virginia Minimum Wage and Maximum Hours Law, and the West Virginia Payment & Collections Act and sought relief and punitive damages against the defendants.
According to the suit, the defendants withheld up to 3% of each employee’s total sales for each shift to be paid out as tips and subsequently shared between managers, kitchen staff, and hosts/hostesses. This led to servers having to put their own tips into the pool, which most of the time resulted in them being paid less than both federal ($7.25 per hour) and state minimum wages ($8.75 per hour). As a result, the suit explained, “approximately $4,000 in tips in a respective week could be shared between employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips.” Last week’s settlement and dismissal effectively resolved these allegations, delivering monetary damages to be divided among the class of plaintiffs.
Attorneys for the plaintiffs issued a joint statement to comment on the settlement and dismissal: “We are pleased with the settlement and the opportunity for closure that this outcome brings for our clients. We hope it sends a strong message to employers, especially in hospitality and food service, that minimum wage laws must be acknowledged and followed. We also hope it allows employees who believe they are paid incorrectly to recognize their options in recovering what they are owed.”
Plaintiffs in this case were represented by Adam L. Slone of Brian G. Miller Co, LPA, as well as Bob DeRose and Jacob Mikalov of Barkan Meizlish DeRose & Cox, LLP.