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Servers Win Tip-Pool Case Against Chili's

Servers win tip-pooling case against Brinker
By Ron Ruggless
HOUSTON, Texas
March 25, 2009

Brinker International Inc. said it plans to appeal a federal jury verdict Tuesday that awarded a former Chili's server and 54 others $270,000 in a tip-pooling case.

Jennifer Roussell, a former employee at a Chili's in Sugar Land, Texas, as well as several other Brinker restaurants elsewhere in the state, filed the lawsuit in 2005 alleging that the restaurant company violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act by requiring servers to share tips with expediters.

A Brinker spokeswoman said in a statement: "At Brinker, we hold the utmost respect for the litigation system; however, we are disappointed in the jury's decision and plan to appeal. We remain steadfast in our belief of the merits of our case."

The jury for the case, which was tried in the U.S. District Court for Southern Texas in Houston, found the Chili's restaurants' tip pool to be illegal because it included non-tipped employees.

Dallas-based Brinker also is parent to the Maggiano's Little Italy and On The Border Grill & Cantina concepts.

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