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Lawyer Alleges TGI Friday's Workers in Mansfield Paid to Drop Out of Class Action Suit

The Sun Chronicle—Rick Foster

A Mansfield worker for a popular chain restaurant reportedly was paid $82,000 as part of an attempt to settle a national class action wage lawsuit, according to a lawyer in the case.

Justin Swartz, a lawyer representing workers suing T.G.I. Friday's said offers of payment to the employee and other workers is part of a strategy to limit the number of plantiffs in the case.

Swartz said almost $500,000 has been offered to as many as 25 workers.

"This is like a game of Whack-a-Mole in which every time a new plaintiff pops up, they try to knock them down hoping additional workers will stop appearing," said Swartz, who made the allegations in a letter to U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres in New York.

Torres is due to decide soon whether 30,000 employees of the nationwide chain can join the lawsuit.

Swartz said the Mansfield employee worked at the Mansfield Crossing location. A second Mansfield store employee accepted an offer of approximately $47,000, he said.

The lawsuit, filed in April, alleges that tipped workers are not paid fair wages.

It also alleges that the management shaves hours from employees' work records and requires tipped staff to share tip proceeds with non-tipped workers, Swartz said.

The legal action seeks to recover minimum wages, overtime pay, tips, unlawful deductions and other wages from current and former Friday's workers.

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