Legal Center for Restaurant Employees
Why is tip theft common in restaurants?
A large part of our practice is devoted to representing restaurant workers in wage and hour disputes. It is staggering the number of restaurants that are oblivious or simply turn a blind eye to legal requirements with regard to overtime, spread of hours pay, treatment of tips, and other basic wage and tip laws.
There are several reasons why restaurants are consistently violators of the wage & hour laws. First, is the cash element to the business. As a certified fraud examiner who was serving as an expert witness in one of our cases said, “cash makes people do unscrupulous things, even wealthy people.” Where there is cash, there is an increased potential for theft and abuse. Second, many single mothers and single fathers work in the restaurant industry and feel as though they cannot risk their jobs by speaking up. Third, the restaurant industry is competitive and the need for more profit is a driving factor. Unfortunately, we see restaurants attempting to increase their profit margins by taking tips from their employees or passing on business expenses to their employees. Finally, the laws governing the payment of tips and wages to restaurant employees is extremely complex. Lawyers who are not experts in this area of law often get it wrong or don’t catch the mistakes. Each of these issues contributes to a recipe for violations of the law.
Given the potential for abuse and the large number of single mothers who work in the restaurant industry to support their families, representing waiters and waitresses is something we really enjoy doing. Our representation of waiters and waitresses effectuates industry-wide change and ensures fair wages for the American working class. Our two primary goals in restaurant cases are as follows: (1) recover unpaid wages and tips for waiters and waitresses; and (2) motivate change throughout the restaurant industry so that servers do not continue to be subjected to unfair wage practice and tip theft.
Not only will filing a lawsuit allow you to recover your unpaid compensation, but you will also become part of the voice for change. When we file lawsuits against restaurants, it sends a message not only to your current employer, but to other restaurants that they cannot taking advantage of restaurant workers and engaging in unfair wage practices.