Steak n Shake hit with overtime lawsuit

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Two workers at Steak n Shake restaurants in Georgia are suing the Indianapolis-based burger chain for allegedly failing to pay minimum wage and overtime to hourly employees.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in a federal court in Georgia, seeks class-action status against Steak n Shake Operations Inc.

Plaintiffs Justin Beecher and Priscilla Cain are current Steak n Shake employees who have worked in various positions, including as servers and trainers. They claim the company directed restaurant managers to adjust the hours of employees who had worked more than 40 hours a week to avoid paying overtime.

A document created by Steak n Shake titled “audit trail report” reflects revised “clock in” and “clock out” times for the hourly employees, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs also allege that the restaurant chain failed to pay the proper minimum wage for servers earning tips from customers.

They claim Steak n Shake adjusted the weekly tips to falsely reflect a higher amount. By doing so, the company eliminated any difference between the servers’ regular hourly rate and the federally required minimum wage, thereby skirting any obligation to pay a minimum wage differential, the complaint said.

In addition, Steak n Shake adjusted the hours of servers to reflect a lower number in order to increase their regular hourly rate and to also avoid paying a minimum wage differential, according to the suit.

The plaintiffs accuse the company of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and are seeking unpaid minimum and overtime wages, as well as other monetary damages.

Steak n Shake is owned by San Antonio-based Biglari Holdings Inc. The chain operates about 490 restaurants in 22 states.

Officials for both Steak n Shake and Biglari did not return phone messages seeking comment on the suit.

Heather L. Wilson, an attorney and member of the labor and employment group at Frost Brown Todd LLC’s Indianapolis office, typically represents companies in wage disputes.

She said these types of claims are quite prevalent, regardless of potential liability, because many employers choose to settle rather than get drawn into a lengthy court battle.

“If you’re claiming that you haven’t been paid overtime, there might be others who are making that claim,” she said. “These types of cases can be costly because many times they do seek to be class actions.”

Wilson said companies can protect against wage disputes by having their policies and procedures comply with state and federal wage and hours laws, which can be complex, and implementing them correctly.



  • helppppp!
    Well i have been recently employed at stake n shake and i worked 76 hrs one week and 33 the next my pay check was 158.00 and i was only clocked n as 70 hrs for the twoweeks. knowing i didnt make that manys tips to be docked so bad. i didnt except my paycheck when it popped up on my pos before my shift. a manager has avoided talking about it cause he knows he shaved my hours. what can i do
  • disgustedd
    I have been with this company for many years. Recently caught managers doing this same thing. One was suspended for a week and let back. When I spoke out on things my hours wete cut by 20 a week. You are right empliyees are intimidated by this company anf need to be stopped
  • This happens at other stores too.
    This does not sound surprising to me. At my store, I have witnessed employees being clocked out during their shift, without their knowledge by the way. As well, I have witnessed claimed tips and hours being changed in the computer.
  • wages owed
    Steak and Shake owes me just this year over 2300 hours of adjusted clock in clock out and not having me clock in and out to adjust labor for the GM to make labor and were never added back on to my time. What's the easiest way to try and recover this.
  • Class Action
    Anyone having issues with unpaid labor or overtime please look into this lawsuit, it is active and they are looking for people to join. I just joined today and im from a completely different store. This just shows its a company wide issue.
  • Response to Justin Griffith
    Actually, my girlfriend just left a steak and shake in orlando who's manager routinely changed her hours, forced her to claim tips she didn't earn, and made her clock in for 30 seconds at a time and then clock back out to give the appearance of having her work. She would then be forced to stay at steak and shake (off the clock) and help out a little before being allowed to clock on for more than 30 seconds; this was a full three hours after her scheduled shift. So I must take issue with your claim that its only local...it's my experience that when you have a restaurant (like steak n shake) run by holding companies and "joint ventures", this is what you get. It isn't the stupidity and selfishness of Georgia, it's the greed of the American holding company.
    • LOL
      I would like to add the the very employee filing the suit is the very one that did some adjustments to his own pay--COME ON HERE NOW
    • Please!
      The fact that you hold Steak n' Shake as a company-wide bad guy seems a bit much. The way each individual store operates is up to the discretion of the person running it. You can hold a grudge when it comes to your son due to parental bias, however the theatrics in which you refer to the acts as "a cancer" That will spread an hurt thousands of people makes me want to laugh uncontrollably. Every restaurant chain, or even independently owned restaurant does this, But not due to policy or corporate mandate. The problem is simply stupidity and selfishness that was on display at the Steak n' shake in Georgia...Nothing more nothing less
    • Great Relief
      My son recently quit his job at Steal and Shank, here in Georgia. The company lied about the wage he would receive when he was hired, refused to discuss it, and regularly short changed him. I started my own employment years in California, where I encountered all kinds of stingy, mean spirited employers, but never one who flagrantly stole with no fear of consequences like this place did in a wholesale manner. I know all too well how intimidated the employees are, and understand why no one has come forward until now, but it's important to understand that this is a cancer, and letting it grow hurts thousands of people. To the employees who stood up and started this lawsuit - you have my respect. I'm proud of you.

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