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Employment

Lancer Hospitality

Gardner et. al. v. Lancer Food Holdings, LLC (d/b/a/ Lancer Hospitality) and Lancer Management Services, Inc.
Case No. 0:20-cv-00493 (District of Minnesota)

On February 12, 2020, we filed an overtime lawsuit against Lancer Food Holdings, LLC (d/b/a Lancer Hospitality, Inc.) and Lancer Management Services, Inc., (“Lancer”). The Complaint alleges that Lancer paid its hourly employees, such as servers, bartenders, and cashiers (and other hourly employees) their regular hourly rate (“straight time”) for all hours worked and did not typically pay an overtime premium when they worked overtime hours. It also alleges that on occasions Lancer did pay overtime, it paid it at the wrong rate. It is our position that Lancer, as the employer of the workers, does not qualify for the “seasonal” exemption to overtime pay, as it is not an amusement or recreational establishment as contemplated by the exemption. See Department of Labor website.

The case was filed as a putative collective action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for all hourly employees across the country, and as a class action under Minnesota state law for those who worked in Minnesota. The case seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated (double) damages, and other statutorily permitted relief from Lancer.

According to its website, Lancer is a premier catering and hospitality company that provides food services to campus dining, K-12 lunch programs, corporate dining, restaurant management, large-scale food service and retail operations at premiere public venues, and cultural attractions across the country. Lancer has over 2,500 employees and manages services in Minnesota, Washington, Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Philadelphia.

Type of Case

Unpaid Overtime Wages

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Am I eligible?

You are eligible to make a claim in this case if you worked for Lancer as an hourly employee at any time within the past three years and were not paid an overtime premium for the overtime hours you worked and/or if your overtime rate of pay was based solely on your lowest rate of pay that pay period rather than on a blended rate of pay for all your rates of pay that pay period.

Additional Information

Is This a Class Action? What Does that Mean?

This case is both a potential nationwide collective action under federal law and a potential class action under Minnesota state law. This means that, depending on the type of claim you have there may be a slightly different process for joining and participating in this suit. See below for more details on this process.

Though the process and terminology may differ slightly, the idea behind both class and collective actions is the same: it allows one of more people to sue on behalf of themselves and other people who have similar claims. In order to proceed as a group though, the Court must certify the class and collective. Because we are in the early stages of the case, this has not happened yet, but we intend to file the motions at the appropriate time asking the Court to grant these certifications.

Which Locations Are Included?

This case seeks to include all hourly employees, nationwide, who work or have worked for Lancer within the past three years.

How Do I Join This Case?

Federal law under the FLSA requires employers to pay overtime after 40 hours in a workweek. In order to make a claim in this case for your unpaid overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, you must complete a consent form and return it to our office. You can sign up online by clicking here.

Minnesota state law requires employers to pay overtime after 48 hours in a workweek. If the Court certifies this case as a class action under Minnesota state law, all hourly employees who worked in Minnesota over 48 hours per week within the past three years will be automatically included, unless they choose to opt-out.

What Time Frame Does This Case Cover?

There is a federal time limit, called a statute of limitations, that allows workers from all states to recover unpaid overtime wages within two years of the worker signing up to join the lawsuit by completing and returning the consent form referenced above. If we can prove that Lancer willfully violated the law, the statute of limitations may be extended to three years. The statute of limitations for Minnesota state law claims is the same.

Do I Have To Pay Anything?

You do not have to pay anything if you make a claim in this case. We are handling the case on a contingency basis. This means we will only be paid if the lawsuit is successful in obtaining relief either through settlement, award, or a final judgment, and that payment will only come out of that settlement, award, or final judgment.

How Do I Prove I Worked Overtime?

If you have records of the hours you worked, please preserve and keep them until we ask you for them. However, you do not need to have records of your work hours to make a claim for your overtime pay. If a company did not keep accurate time records, most courts will permit you to estimate your work hours. Through this lawsuit, we will seek any records Lancer may have of your hours worked as well.

What About Retaliation?

It is against the law for an employer to retaliate against a person for making a claim to reclaim unpaid wages. If you believe you may be the victim of retaliation for joining or participating in this case, contact the case clerk, Danielle Kahler, at (612) 256-3214 or dkahler@nka.com.

How Long Will This Case Take?

The length of this kind of case varies, but these cases typically last one to three years.

Is There Money Available Now?

No. This is a pending lawsuit. There is no money currently available and there is no guarantee that you will receive money for making a claim.

How Can I Help?

If you know any hourly employees interested in making a claim for unpaid overtime, please direct them to the case clerk, Danielle Kahler, at (612) 256-3214 or dkahler@nka.com. You can also direct them here to sign up electronically. There is strength in numbers.

How Do I Learn More?

To learn more about this case, feel free to contact the case clerk, Danielle Kahler, at (612) 256-3214 or dkahler@nka.com.

Case Updates

  • February 13, 2020

    Lancer Hospitality Sued for Paying Hourly Employees Straight Time Only and No Overtime Pay

    On February 12, 2020, a server initiated a putative collective and class action lawsuit against Lancer Food Holdings, LLC (d/b/a Lancer Hospitality, Inc.) and Lancer Management Services, Inc. (collectively “Lancer Hospitality”) for unpaid overtime compensation.

    The Complaint alleges that Lancer Hospitality paid its hourly employees, such as servers, bartenders, and cashiers (and other hourly employees), their regular hourly rate (“straight time”) for all hours worked and did not typically pay an overtime premium when they worked overtime hours.  It also alleges that on occasions the company did pay overtime, it paid it at the wrong rate.

    The case was filed as a putative collective action under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act for all hourly employees across the country, and as a class action under Minnesota state law for those who worked in Minnesota. The case seeks to recover unpaid overtime compensation, liquidated (double) damages, and other statutorily permitted relief.

    According to its website, Lancer is a premier catering and hospitality company that provides food services to campus dining, K-12 lunch programs, corporate dining, restaurant management, large-scale food service and retail operations at premiere public venues, and cultural attractions across the country. Lancer has over 2,500 employees and manages services in Minnesota, Washington, Utah, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Philadelphia.

    Michele Fisher, a partner with Nichols Kaster, PLLP representing the employees, explained, “when hourly workers work overtime hours, they are typically entitled to 1.5 times their regular rate of pay for those hours. When companies pay straight time only for all hours worked, including overtime hours, that should be a red flag to an employer and employee that the workers likely are not getting paid what they are owed.”

    The employees are represented by Michele R. Fisher of Nichols Kaster, PLLP, which has offices in Minnesota and California. The case is entitled, Gardner et al v. Lancer Food Holdings, LLC (d/b/a/ Lancer Hospitality) and Lancer Management Services, Inc., Case No. 0:20-cv-00493 (District of Minnesota).  

    Additional information about the case and how couriers can make a claim can be found at www.nka.com or by calling Nichols Kaster, PLLP toll free at (877) 448-0492 ext. 214.

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