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Restaurant Group Agrees to $1.49M Pay, Sick Leave Settlement

Aug. 22, 2018, 6:39 PM

A restaurant group with locations in the Washington, D.C., area agreed to pay up to $1.49 million to settle claims it didn’t provide sick leave required by a city law and underpaid tipped employees.

There are 962 class members eligible to share in the settlement, according to a motion for court approval the workers’ attorneys filed. The awards range from $25 to over $25,000, they said. Precise amounts depend on whether an eligible class member opts in or out of the settlement and how many weeks the employee worked.

Farmers Restaurant Group didn’t provide its Washington employees with sick leave, despite a 2014 law that added restaurants to the type of business covered by the city’s sick leave ordinance, the workers said. A group of tipped workers in Washington, Maryland, and Virginia said they were paid a lower minimum wage even during periods when they were engaged in non-tipped work at the end of the day, such as resetting tables and polishing silver.

The restaurant group operates Founding Farmers, Farmers Fishers Bakers, and Farmers & Distillers.

The National Restaurant Association’s legal arm, the Restaurant Law Center, meanwhile, is challenging a Labor Department guideline for how to determine the applicable minimum wage for tipped employees engaged in dual jobs.

The Farmers Restaurant Group agreement is subject to approval by Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, who will decide whether it’s a fair and reasonable resolution.

The case is Stephens v. Farmers Rest. Grp., D.D.C., No. 1:17-cv-01087, motion for preliminary settlement approval 8/21/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jon Steingart in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Terence Hyland at