Class Action Suit Filed Against Burger King

On Tuesday, June 4, U.S. District Chief Judge K. Michael Moore conditionally certified two classes of Burger King Corp. employees who have accused the chain of misclassifying employees in order to exempt them from overtime pay and therefore save on labor costs. Plaintiff Ronald Joseph Torres Roman, at this stage in the litigation process, has shown that there are sufficient similarities in the treatment and situation of other trainee coaches and sales and operation coaches who have joined the suit.

Torres Roman alleges that Burger King has “willfully chosen to uniformly misclassify a group of employees training to become Operation Coaches as exempt from the overtime wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).” The supply of candidates for Operation Coach positions at the fast food chain far exceeded the number of available positions, and employees were forced to perform non-exempt duties indefinitely in the interim time between training and assuming their new positions. The complaint states that this policy decision was made at Burger King’s highest corporate level and was intentionally transgressive of the FLSA, which protects these classes of employees from overtime pay exemptions.

Burger King’s corporate Leadership Development Program, which the employees were all enrolled in, comprises a one-day-per-week formal training for future coaches and other types of managers. However, for the remainder of the work week, trainees were forced to work 10- to 13-hour days flipping hamburgers and conducting other labor-intensive, non-exempt tasks for local chain restaurants. Throughout their training, they were paid a base salary as exempt employees, despite spending the vast majority of their time performing tasks that did not correlate to their employment status. The complaint alleges that the class of employees “has been grossly underpaid and overworked.”

Plaintiff Torres Roman brings the claim on behalf of all employees enrolled in the corporation’s national Leadership Development Program as trainees, currently or at any point throughout the past three years. If the suit is successful, the class will recover compensation for all overtime hours worked in the past three years, along with an equivalent amount of liquidated damages.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, many different types of employees are entitled to benefits such as overtime pay. Visit this page for a list of common positions eligible for overtime. Often, up to six years’ worth of lost overtime pay can be recovered in worker misclassification cases. The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis takes all such cases on a contingency basis.