IHOP and Applebee’s Face Unpaid Overtime and Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit

- by

Santa Clara, CA: IHOP and Applebee' restaurants are facing an unpaid overtime and racial discrimination class action lawsuit alleging they are in violation of California labor law among others.

Filed by Former DineEquity Inc. paralegal Jewel Garner, the suit states that the defendants misclassified employees as overtime-exempt. Further claims state they allowed a racially charged work environment to exist and engaged in racial discrimination by placing black employees in competition against each other and holding them to different standards from other workers.

According to court documents, Garner told a California state judge that DineEquity used her title as a manager of franchise compliance in order to avoid paying her overtime wages. However, she claims she was manager in name alone, as she never had the authority to hire, fire or make other personnel decisions for DineEquity.

"Despite the fancy title, Gardner remained a paralegal whose duties were to make certain that new and existing franchises complied with franchise law in the jurisdictions in which the company maintained franchise restaurants,"the complaint states.

Garner also asserts that DineEquity expected a higher quality of work from black employees than from others. "African-American employees of DineEquity were held to a higher standard than non-African-American employees and were the subject of discrimination by those who resented having to correct the errors that were discovered by Gardner and other African-American employees,"the suit states.

Gardner worked for DineEquity and its predecessor IHOP, for over 22 years before she was fired in February 2015, after an incident in which she spoke out against her treatment by a co-worker, the complaint states.

Gardner's superiors claimed she withheld information about a franchise deal, and allowed her to be reprimanded at an interdepartmental meeting in front of other employees. When she raised issue with the assertion, and her treatment at the meeting, she was placed on leave and ultimately fired, the complaint states.

The suit was filed on behalf of current and former employees who may have been misclassified as exempt from overtime compensation. It seeks damages for racial discrimination and violations of California wage and labor laws, according to the complaint.

Gardner is represented by Lorraine Grindstaff of Patten Faith & Sandford. The case is Jewel Gardner vs. DineEquity Inc., case number BC610815, in California Superior Court, County of Los Angeles, Central District.

Legal Help

If you or a loved one has suffered similar damages or injuries, please click here to fill in our form and your complaint will be sent to a discrimination lawyer who may evaluate your claim at no cost or obligation.

Reader Comments

Posted by
Miachelle Hudgens
Worked at Applebee's in Oregon assisting chefs working backend. Never promoted or advanced due to age, new hires would get position instead. All front end help waitresses were never over 20 to 25 years old. I called Labor Board in O

Add Your Comment on This Issue

Fields marked * are mandatory. Please read our comment guidelines before posting.


Note: Your name will be published with your comment.

*Email Address:

Your email will only be used if a response is needed.

*Your Comment: