Waiters File Minimum Wage Lawsuit Against Hard Rock Cafe

Two waiters at a Hard Rock Café in Florida have just filed a tip pooling lawsuit against the company, claiming Hard Rock didn’t pay them minimum wage. They are seeking class-action status for the case based on the number of potential servers affected. The waiters and waitresses assert that the “tip pooling” policy at the restaurant required servers and bartenders to share their tips with kitchen staff, denying them fair wages.

Tipping practices are often confusing and may form the basis of a federal or state lawsuit.

Some common questions about tips include:

Who is a tipped employee?

“Tipped employees” are generally considered those who take home $30 or more in tips each month.

How much does my employer have to pay me in addition my tips?

Employers can pay as low as $2.13 an hour in “direct wages,” but the total wage including tip must meet the minimum wage. If the total amount you make doesn’t equal minimum wage, then your employer has to make up the difference.

Who owns my tips?

You do. Workers must be allowed to take home all of their tips – you can’t be required to share your wages except as a part of a valid “pooling” arrangement.

What is tip pooling?

Tip pooling is the practice of having all tipped employees chip in a portion of their tips, which are then redistributed to everyone in the pool. Only those employees who typically receive tips can be part of the pool. Violations of federal law may occur if an employer forces tipped workers to share their earnings with other non-tipped workers.

If you receive most of your wages in tips, it’s important to know your legal rights concerning tip practices. For more information or if you believe your employer has been paying you less than minimum wage or violating any rules regarding tips, please contact the experienced Atlanta employment lawyers at the Georgia employment law firm, of Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP, dedicated to protecting worker’s rights.