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Hagee v. Capital Tacos, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division

January 29, 2018

KRISTEN HAGEE, MICHELLE HANEY, and JEREMY LANG, Plaintiffs,
v.
CAPITAL TACOS, INC. d/b/a FUZZY'S TACO SHOP, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Hon. Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge.

         In the instant action, Kristen Hagee, Michelle Haney, and Jeremy Lang assert claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201-219, against their former employer, Capital Tacos, Inc. ("Capital Tacos"). Capital Tacos has moved to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant the defendant's motion, dismiss the plaintiffs' claims without prejudice, and permit the plaintiffs to file an amended complaint.

         Factual Background

         The following factual allegations, taken from the plaintiffs' complaint, are accepted as true for purposes of the pending motion. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ("[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint").

         Capital Tacos operates a restaurant known as "Fuzzy's Taco Shop" in Charlottesville, Virginia. Hagee, Haney, and Lang worked at the restaurant from May 2, 2017 until mid-June of 2017. They received an hourly wage, along with a share of the tips left by customers each day.

         During the first week of their employment, the plaintiffs worked "long hours" as part of a "week-long 'orientation.'" Compl. ¶ 12, Docket No. 1. The plaintiffs allege that the defendant failed to pay them an "adequate wage" for the time that they worked during the orientation period. Id. On or about June 8, 2017, Haney expressed concern to Lang regarding her paycheck. Haney noticed that she had not been compensated for a shift that she worked on May 20, 2017, and that she had not received any overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week. After speaking with Haney, Lang noticed "discrepancies in his pay, including that the time recorded on his 'check-out slip' at the end of each shift did not match the amount of time recorded on the pay stub of his most recent pay check." Compl. ¶ 15. Lang also noticed that he had not received overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week.

         On or about June 9, 2017, Lang approached the "owner/manger" of the restaurant, Pranav Shah, and "asked for a copy of a labor report." Id. ¶¶ 7, 16. Shah refused to provide the report, and advised Lang that his employment would be terminated if he insisted on obtaining it. Lang did not appear for his assigned shift the following day, and was subsequently terminated.

         Haney returned to work on June 10, 2017. Upon her arrival, Shah informed Haney that she was being terminated. "When Haney asked why she was being terminated, [Shah] stated a number of reasons, before admitting that Haney was terminated out of concern that she would exercise her statutory rights under the FLSA and Virginia law." Id. ¶ 19.

         On that same day, after discovering a problem with her own pay check and learning that Haney and Lang's pay checks were purportedly incorrect, Hagee approached Shah and requested a copy of her labor report. Hagee informed Shah that she intended to consult an attorney regarding her rights under the FLS A, and that she refused to return to work until she was paid all of the wages and overtime pay that she was due.

         On June 11, 2017, an officer with the Albemarle County Police Department delivered a notice of termination of employment to Lang and Haney, which was drafted and signed by Shah. The officer advised Lang and Haney that they would be arrested for trespassing if they returned to Fuzzy's Taco Shop.

         Procedural History

         Hagee, Haney, and Lang filed this action against Capital Tacos on October 25, 2017. In Count One of the complaint, the plaintiffs claim that the defendant violated the FLS A "by failing to compensate [them] at the required overtime rate." Id. ¶ 28. In Count Two, the plaintiffs claim that the defendant violated the FLS A "by failing to compensate [them] for all of the time that they worked at the appropriate wage." Id. ¶ 33. In Count Three, the plaintiffs claim that the defendant violated the FLSA "by terminating . . . Lang and Haney for exercising their statutory rights." Id. ¶38.

         Capital Tacos has moved to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). The plaintiffs oppose the motion and, alternatively, seek leave to amend the complaint. The matter is now ripe for disposition.[1]

         Standard ...


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