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Driver v. AppleIllinois, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

January 8, 2013

Glenn DRIVER, Demiko D. McCaster, Rosamar Mallari, Joyce A. Britton and Michael H. Hicks, on behalf of themselves and all other persons similarly situated, known and unknown, Plaintiffs,
APPLEILLINOIS, LLC d/b/a Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar, W. Curtis Smith, James Borke, J. Timothy Brugh, Archie Iodice, et al., Defendants.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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David Erik Stevens, Douglas M. Werman, Maureen Ann Salas, Werman Law Office PC, Jamie G. Sypulski, Law Office Jamie Golden Sypulski, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiffs.

Nadine C. Abrahams, Andrea D. Somerville, Hallie D. Caldarone, Jane M. McFetridge, Paul J. Stroka, Chicago, IL, Paul Decamp, Jacqueline C. Tully, Reston, VA, for Defendants.


GERALDINE SOAT BROWN, United States Magistrate Judge.

Before the court is defendants AppleIllinois, LLC, et al.' s Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiffs' Notice Claim.[1] (Defs.' Mot.) [Dkt 335.] Plaintiffs filed their opposition to the motion (Pls.' Opp'n) [dkt 346], and AppleIllinois filed its reply (Defs.' Reply) [dkt 350]. For the reasons set forth below, AppleIllinois' motion is granted in part and denied in part.


The history of this case is set out in a number of previous opinions. [2] In summary, the plaintiffs, who are present or former tipped employees at Illinois Applebee's restaurants, bring claims against AppleIllinois on behalf of a plaintiff class under the Illinois Minimum Wage Law (" IMWL" ), 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 105/1, et seq. , the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act (" IWPCA" ), 820 Ill. Comp. Stat. §§ 115/1, et seq. , and on behalf of the individual plaintiffs under the Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA" ), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. (Third Am. Compl.) [Dkt 141.] The plaintiff class alleges that AppleIllinois violated the IMWL in a number of ways. ( See Mem. Op. & Order, 265 F.R.D. at 301.) A class was certified as to the claim that AppleIllinois violated the IMWL by failing to provide sufficient notice that AppleIllinois would take a " tip credit" as part of the employees' wages. ( Id. at 304-05.)

Statutory framework

Both the FLSA and the IMWL allow employers to take a tip credit against the minimum wage for employees in occupations that customarily receive gratuities. The IMWL provides:

Every employer of an employee engaged in an occupation in which gratuities have

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customarily and usually constituted and have been recognized as part of the remuneration for hire purposes is entitled to an allowance for gratuities as part of the hourly wage rate .... The Director shall require each employer desiring an allowance for gratuities to provide substantial evidence that the amount claimed, which may not exceed 40% of the applicable minimum wage rate, was received by the employee in the period for which the claim of exemption is made, and no part thereof was returned to the employer.

820 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 105/4(c). That allowance is the " tip credit."

The FLSA also allows a tip credit, subject to certain conditions, one of which is informing the employee about the tip credit:

The [tip credit] shall not apply with respect to any tipped employee unless such employee has been informed by the employer of the provisions of this subsection, and all tips received by such employee have been retained by the employee, except that this subsection shall not be construed to prohibit the pooling of tips among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.

29 U.S.C. § 203(m) (emphasis added). The italicized language was added to the FLSA in 1974. Pub. L. No. 93-959, § 13, 88 Stat. 55, 65 (1974). It was not until 2011, however, that the United States Department of Labor (" USDOL" ) promulgated a regulation specifying the information required. 29 C.F.R. § 531.59.

The IMWL does not include such a specific provision relating to information about the tip credit, although it does contain a general notice provision.

Posting of summary of Act and regulations. Every employer subject to any provision of this Act or of any regulations issued under this Act shall keep a summary of this Act approved by the Director [of the Illinois Department of Labor], and copies of any applicable regulations issued under this Act or a summary of such regulations, posted in a conspicuous and accessible place in or about the premises, wherever any person subject to this Act is employed. Employers shall be furnished copies of such summaries and regulations by the State on request without charge.

820 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 105/9. The IWPCA also contains a notice requirement:

Notification of rate, time and place of payment of wages; records; notices. Employers shall notify employees, at the time of hiring, of the rate of pay and of the time and place of payment. Whenever possible, such notification shall be in writing and shall be acknowledged by both parties. Employers shall also notify employees of any change in the arrangements, specified above, prior to the time of change ... Every employer shall post and keep posted at each regular place of business in a position easily accessible to all employees one or more notices indicating the regular pay days and the place and time for payment of his employees, and on forms supplied from time to time by the Department of Labor containing a copy or summary of the provisions of this Act.

820 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 115/10 (emphasis added).

Other than the provision quoted above regarding the tip credit, the text of the FLSA does not contain a notice and posting requirement comparable to those in the IMWL and IWPCA, but the USDOL regulations require such posting.

Every employer employing any employees subject to the Act's minimum wage provisions shall post and keep posted a notice explaining the Act, as prescribed

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by the Wage and Hour Division, in conspicuous places in every establishment where such employees are employed so as to permit them to observe readily a copy.

29 C.F.R. § 516.4.

Present motion

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