The recent Applebees lawsuit is all the more reason to be careful with your finances when eating out. If you are dining at one of the many Applebees restaurants around the nation, chances are that you have been subjected to the “owner’s rule.” This means that although the restaurant may have had every right to ask you to leave for your own safety and personal well-being, they did not have the right to do so. In most restaurants, this is the case, however, when it comes to an Applebee’s the owner is always right and the customers are usually wrong.
When I say that the owner is always right, I am referring to the law of implied rights of the franchisee or the franchisor. In essence, it is that the franchisee has the right to sue you for any injuries that occur while you are a customer in their restaurant. In fact, many times it is not until you are seated and eating that you may feel the waitress asks you to leave for your own safety. It is then that you should stand up, place your tray on the table in front of you, and ask them what they are doing there. If they respond by asking you to move your trays, or if they attempt to drag you toward the front of the restaurant, that is when you know that the employee has taken your plate for their own safety. In many cases this is when the lawsuit starts.
As you can see from the above example, this puts many of the restaurant staff on the wrong side of the line. Although you may feel sympathetic towards the waitress that keeps extra money in her pocket and extra food in her freezer, you should realize that she is a person just like you and most likely has family that lives in the same apartment or have come to work for the same employer for years. They will not be happy about being asked to leave until you can prove that the employees of the Applebee’s that you dined at knew that you were there and did nothing to provoke your rage. If you don’t want to go to all this trouble to prove your innocence, and you don’t want to pay their legal fees, you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you in court. You may think that it is going to cost you more, but in the long run, this could save you a lot of money if you win your lawsuit.
This is only one lawsuit that they have lost, and they could be facing many more in the next few months and years. In the mean time, if you aren’t an attorney, you may want to look into what is known as an unfair employment practice charge. This is filed by any employee that feels they have been discriminated against based on race, gender, religion, national origin, or some other category protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The bottom line is that if you have evidence that an Applebee’s waitress kept food in the kitchen for their own personal use, and that you were the one that asked for it, this could be grounds for an OSHA lawsuit.
The Applebee’s lawsuit is only one example of many that are bound to come throughout the coming year. People will no doubt file numerous others as well claiming they were victims of discrimination at restaurants such as Motrin, Chainsaw BBQ, Chili Adobo, and Hot Dog Stand. As with any case, there are many factors that can be considered when determining if the incident was valid. Some of them include whether or not the employees had been instructed not to serve the customer alcoholic beverages. If it can be shown that they were in breach of this instruction, then it would be considered discrimination.