There are many jobs in New York and across the nation where workers rely on tips to boost their income. While most employers who have so-called "tipped" workers will adhere to the law regarding this issue and see it as a benefit to both the employee and the business as it will improve service, some commit violations of the law. For workers in the service industry who believe they have been damaged by this type of behavior, it is possible to get their employee rights upheld by filing a wage claim.
A man who worked as a bartender at a hotel has filed a lawsuit saying that his employer's behavior was tantamount to stealing tips. According to him, the hotel tacked a "service" fee to the bills and did not give the money to its workers. The man was a bartender and banquet server for slightly more than one year. He claims that the service charge is placed on the bills and menus for items served at gatherings like weddings and various events. The implication is that service workers are being given a tip for their work from that service charge. However, the hotel did not give those fees to workers.
The lawsuit asserts that state law makes it necessary to say that administration fees at these types of events will not go to the servers and other workers at the events. The man seeks to be compensated for what he did not receive in tips. He also wants interest and for his attorney fees to be paid. In addition, he asks that other workers who were deprived of their tips be paid wages they should have received. Since the man left his job, service workers at the hotel became part of a union. Their contract now stipulates that they get a part of the service fees after their hourly wages were lowered by close to half.
Wage disputes are common in many jobs and it frequently stems from disagreements as to how tips are provided to workers in the service industry. Many workers are unaware of their rights in this area and, for fear of losing their jobs or facing retaliation, do not speak up. It is important for these workers to know what they can do if they are not getting the hourly pay they are supposed to, are deprived of tips, and have other employee rights violations perpetrated against them. Calling for legal advice from a law firm that understands employment law for employees can help to get what they are entitled to.