Five former restaurant workers filed a federal lawsuit against Marble Slab Creamery and Great American Cookies, San Antonio franchisees for Subway, alleging that they were not paid for overtime work and other work.
Collective action certification has been sought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for the lawsuit on behalf of about 125 workers currently or formerly employed by a number of defendants. It is possible that the collective action could be expanded.
Wessam “Sammie” Aldeeb, the defendant franchisee, asserts that he has not underpaid employees and that his success depends on keeping his employees happy. Aldeeb operates at least eight franchise locations in San Antonio and Boerne, according to the lawsuit. The franchisers were not named in the suit.
An attorney for the plaintiffs has asserted that wage and hour violations are common in the restaurant industry. One of the plaintiffs has claimed that she worked many overtime hours for which she was not paid. Another attorney for the plaintiffs has argued that it is unfair and illegal competition for some businesses to keep labor costs down by violating the FLSA, earning profits at the expense of law-abiding competitors and of their own employees.
The lawsuit seeks certification as a collective action under the FLSA. Such collective actions share some characteristics with class action lawsuits, with notable differences. If employees are “similarly situated” to the plaintiffs in the lawsuit by being subject to a common policy or design, then they may “opt in” to the lawsuit. Employees who do not opt in may maintain the right to file a subsequent private action.