Five Guys Enterprises, LLC is an American fast food chain focused on hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries. It is headquartered in Lorton, Virginia. Five Guys has over 1,600 locations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. The company is privately owned and operated by the Murrell family. The state with the most number of Five Guys locations in the US is California, with 128 restaurants, which is about 9% of all Five Guys restaurants in the US.
In December 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed by lead plaintiff Jeremy R, Lusk in the United States Federal District Court in Fresno California against Five Guys Enterprises alleging that the company violated California labor laws by denying its workers breaks and overtime pay. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of 2,206 non-exempt workers at the gourmet burger chain. Lusk worked as an hourly, non-exempt, manager-in-training at a Five Guys establishment in California from August to November 2016.
Lusk alleged that while working as an hourly, non-exempt employee, he and class members were not always permitted to take 30-minute meal breaks and 10-minute rest breaks for each 4-hour work period as it would be too busy to do so. And that he and class members were required to perform work off- the-clock as they would have to clock out but continue to perform work, such as counting out the cash register, which may take up to twenty minutes.
Lusk also alleged that he and class members were required to utilize their own personal vehicles to perform their job duties, such as travelling to and from other restaurants owned by Defendants to pick up food and supplies and Five Guys did not reimburse them for utilizing their own personal vehicles to do so.
This conduct was the basis of his claims under Labor Code §§ 203 and 226 and the Unfair Competition Law for failure to pay for all time worked, failure to provide legally compliant meal and rest breaks, failure to reimburse, and failure to provide meal and rest periods.
Plaintiff finally alleged that Defendants obtained his and class members’ employment applicants’ authorization to procure background check reports through the use of a disclosure form that did not comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA),the California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act ( CCRAA) or Investigating Consumer Reporting Agency Act (ICRAA) requirements. However verified discovery responses later established the Defendants had not actually run any background checks on any employees or applicants, including Plaintiff.
In October 2019, Five Guys and the plaintiffs agreed to a $1.2 million settlement. However, the settlement was rejected by a California federal judge on December 23, 2019, without a hearing and identified several issues that needed to be addressed.
On May 18, 2020, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Motion for Preliminary Approval, which addressed the issues raised by the Court. However, on October 19, 2020, the Court again denied Plaintiff’s motion and found more issues that needed to be addressed.
On February 26, 2021, Plaintiff filed a Supplemental/Second Amended Motion for Preliminary Approval. On June 1, 2021, the Court denied Plaintiff’s motion.
On September 25, 2021,Plaintiff filed a Third Amended Motion for Preliminary Approval. On January 24, 2022, the Court denied Plaintiff’s motion.
On July 25, 2022, Plaintiff filed a Fourth Amended Motion for Preliminary Approval. On October 3, 2022, the Court approved Plaintiff’s amended motion without a hearing in its Order on Plaintiff’s Fourth Amended Motion for Preliminary Approval. The Court set the Final Approval Hearing for March 27, 2023, which was later continued to another date.
In a brief filed April 13, 2023, the Five Guys employees urged U.S. District Judge Jennifer Thurston to green light the settlement — seven months after they received preliminary approval of the deal.
This proposal is the fifth due to the judge’s questions on the four previous occasions. With the new agreement of $1.2 million, each claimant could receive up to $900, dependent on the final plaintiffs’ legal fees.
The Five Guys employment law class action is one of several recent lawsuits alleging that the company violated labor laws. In 2022, a former employee filed a lawsuit alleging that Five Guys violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) by requiring employees to scan their fingerprints to clock in and out of work. In addition, Five Guys has been hit with a negligence class action lawsuit alleging that the company failed to properly secure the private information of individuals who applied for employment with the company.
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