$1.25 Million Settlement – Burger King

Feldman Legal Group and attorney Mitchell Feldman reached a settlement with Burger King Corporation to settle the overtime wage claims of employees enrolled in the Burger King Leadership Development Program and Operation Coach trainees for the sum of $1.25 million. Burger King failed to pay overtime wages to the trainees, though such overtime pay is required by law.

CASE: Rebecca L. Schadt, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated v. Burger King Corp. Case No. 8:16-cv-00081-JDW-MAP, in the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida.

Our lawsuit alleges that Burger King has intentionally and repeatedly engaged in the practice of misclassifying trainee employees as salaried exempt employees under the FLSA for the purpose of minimizing payroll and increasing profitability.

Ms. Schadt worked for Burger King from April 14, 2014 until September 29, 2014 training to become an Operation Coach, and enrolled in the Burger King Leadership Development Program. Though she was classified as a trainee, she was not paid overtime wages for her hours worked beyond the 40-hour workweek, as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Ms. Schadt’s duties while training to become an Operation Coach primarily involved menial, non-exempt tasks such as flipping hamburgers, cooking, cleaning, and assisting customers.

Our lawsuit alleges that, because she held a trainee position, she was not exempt from overtime wages. Furthermore, though she was nominally training for the Operation Coach position, in practice, she had no management duties or decision-making power. She did not:

supervise or delegate work to employees
perform duties of a Coach
have authority to make disciplinary decisions
have authority to make decisions about pay rates or benefits
Instead, Burger King required Ms. Schadt to work ten to thirteen-hour days often and well over 40 hours each work week. The primary job duty of Ms. Schadt was to work as a low-level cook, restaurant hourly employee.

Ms. Schadt was paid a salary which was based on working 40 hours per week upon the completion of her training program. However, during the training program, Ms. Schadt averaged fifty-five (55) hours of work per week and was required to work through lunches receiving no break and no pay for those hours. She worked at 3 different Burger King restaurants, forced to commute large distances to get to the work sites. She spent upwards of 5 months toiling away as a restaurant laborer, performing non-exempt duties, and for the benefit of the Defendant.

Burger King continued to require that Ms. Schadt and similar trainees toil away and work long hours for many months until they found or created an opening for which she was being trained for.

Our suit alleges that Burger King knowingly and willfully misclassified Ms. Schadt, and other employees similarly situated, as exempt for the purposes of decreasing costs and maximizing profitability.

The trainees received little if any benefit from working and toiling away for months in restaurants performing non-exempt duties such as cooking, cleaning, customer service. After a day or more or even a few days, they understood the position, and beyond that were no longer receiving any sort of benefit to be used in the positions to which they were training for.

However, Burger King did not have open positions for all the trainees, and therefore kept the trainees working in restaurants 4 days per week months longer than necessary to train for the position they were hired for.

Our lawsuit seeks recovery of unpaid overtime wages for all hours worked beyond the 40-hour workweek, prejudgment interest, attorneys’ fees, costs and other compensation.

Additionally, Ms. Schadt seeks a declaratory judgment as to the above allegations; that the Burger King purposely and uniformly misclassified all trainees in the Leadership Development Programs as exempt under the FLSA.