Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for their work. At the very least, they should be paid the minimum wage, though federal law allows for individuals who receive tips to make less than the hourly minimum wage for tipped work. The rationale is that if they are receiving tips, then those tips will raise their hourly wage to at least the minimum wage. Servers and restaurant workers who are generally tipped, however, may not always be assigned tipped work.
According to a budding pool of servers at some of New York City’s finest restaurants, they were not paid minimum wage for their nontipped work. They have filed a class action lawsuit against the restaurants, arguing that this is a minimum wage violation. There are estimates that the class could eventually grow to 500 servers and restaurant workers.
According to the lawsuit, the celebrity chef who owns the six restaurants has regularly ordered waiters to perform menial tasks for which they will not receive tips. While someone needs to clean bathrooms, vacuum floors and take out the garbage, those people should be paid at least the minimum wage for that work.
The lawsuit also accuses the chef of making servers and kitchen staff pool their tips.
If true, these minimum wage violations are long-standing problems. The servers are asking for damages that date back to 2008.
Unfortunately, not all employers treat their staff fairly or compensate them properly for their work. When that happens, however, wronged employees can file wage-related employment lawsuits such as this one.
Source: New York Post, “Celebrity chef being sued for cheating servers out of tips,” Julia Marsh, June 11, 2014