Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) – the federal law setting minimum wage and overtime requirements – restaurants, bars, and other businesses that employ tipped workers, are permitted to pay their tipped employees less than the federal $7.25 per hour minimum wage as long as they follow certain rules. If a business does not follow these rules, then it owes its tipped employees the full minimum wage.
Two rules businesses must follow, but often break are:
Some of the ways businesses violate these rules are:
These are just some of the ways businesses can ignore the rules to take advantage of some of their hardest working, but frequently lowest paid, employees. The U.S. Department of Labor has additional helpful information here.
These unlawful practices can cost tipped employees hundreds or even thousands of dollars. For example, in one such case against a Red Robin franchisee in Pennsylvania, where the tipped workers alleged they were required to share tips with cooks, dishwashers, and janitors, the parties ultimately reached a $1.3 Million settlement. Ford, et al. v. Lehigh Valley Rest. Group, Inc., No. 3:14-cv-227-JMM (M.D. Pa.).
We represent tipped employees who have been the victims of unlawful practices like these. Check out the coverage of one of our recent case on behalf of servers and bartenders at Nashville’s Downtown Sporting Club:
If you are a tipped employee and believe you have not been properly paid, please call our office at (615) 244-2202 for a free and confidential consultation.