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Applebee’s Franchisee Can Use Affirmative Defense in Wage Suits

Oct. 21, 2020, 10:29 PM

An Applebee’s restaurant franchisee in New York may defend itself against alleged tip-credit violations by showing it paid all wages owed to the 1,100-plus workers involved in the litigation, a federal judge in Brooklyn ruled Wednesday, breathing new life into a pair of lawsuits.

Judge Eric N. Vitaliano of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York declined to adopt a magistrate judge’s 2017 finding that this affirmative defense wasn’t available to the franchisee. The magistrate said that the relevant statute didn’t take effect until it was amended in February 2015 and didn’t apply retroactively to the ...