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Federal Court In Florida Is Latest To Reject DOL Regulation, Finds FLSA Does Not Require That Employees Receiving Full Minimum Wage Retain All Tips

While Department of Labor regulations interpreting the FLSA remain the primary source of employer guidance regarding the Act’s requirements, they are not necessarily the final word on what federal wage law requires. This is so even where they have been subject to “notice and comment,” triggering a higher level of judicial deference.  A federal court … Continue Reading

Federal Court In Georgia Rejects DOL Regulation, Rules FLSA Does Not Require That Employees Receiving Full Minimum Wage Retain All Tips

On July 26, 2016, Judge William S. Duffey of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia issued a decision holding that an employer does not have to ensure tipped employees retain all of their tips if the company is not using the employee’s tips to satisfy part of the minimum wage … Continue Reading

NYSDOL Issues Guidance on Fast Food Wage Order and Increased State Cash Minimum Wage For Hospitality Workers

The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) recently posted answers to Frequently Asked Questions related to the new Fast Food Wage Order and increased state minimum wage for hospitality workers, both of which take effect on December 31, 2015.  As previously covered here, the state minimum wage in New York will increase to $9.00 … Continue Reading

Industrial Board of Appeals Hears Arguments Regarding New York Fast Food Wage Order

Last week, the New York Industrial Board of Appeals (an arm of the New York Department of Labor) heard oral argument on the National Restaurant Association’s petition to invalidate the Department of Labor’s recent Fast Food Wage Order. If implemented, the Wage Order, which is scheduled to take effect on December 31, 2015, would increase … Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Provides Guidance Regarding Occupations Which “Customarily And Regularly” Receive Tips

Attempting to provide clarity to a subject that is a regular source of litigation, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has issued an extended, detailed analysis addressing the circumstances under which an employee’s position is “customarily and regularly” tipped for purposes of participating in a valid tip pool under 29 U.S.C. § 203(m). … Continue Reading

Joining Ninth Circuit, Fourth Circuit Rejects Cause of Action to Recover Gratuities Under FLSA When No Tip Credit Taken

In accordance with the Ninth Circuit and several other federal court rulings, the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit yesterday held that an employee cannot bring a claim for wages based on allegedly misappropriated gratuities under the FLSA unless the employer used the tip credit set forth in 29 U.S.C. § 203(m). Trejo v. Ryman … Continue Reading

Massachusetts Highest Court Holds Businesses Not Required to Permit Tipping Under State Law

In 2013, New York’s highest state court considered which employees are eligible to participate in sharing tips from a communal tip jar, and even if eligible, whether the employer could nonetheless exclude them from participating. The New York court held an employer may exclude employees from sharing in tips even if they would otherwise be … Continue Reading

NY Acting Commissioner of Labor Issues Wage Board Order Reducing New York Tip Credit to $1.50

In New York, the cash wage due to tipped workers will increase to $7.50 at the end of the year, following an Order from acting Commissioner of Labor Mario Musolino. Commissioner Musolino accepted this recommendation from the Wage Board convened by his predecessor. This order will reduce the tip credit to $1.50/hour off the minimum … Continue Reading

New York Wage Board Issues Recommendation Regarding Tip Credit

Completing its task assigned by former Commissioner of Labor Peter Rivera, the current New York Wage Board has issued its recommended findings to the Commissioner with respect to tip credit issues.  Most importantly for hospitality employers – an industry sector which includes many small, low-margin businesses – if approved by the Commissioner, the available tip … Continue Reading

Utah Federal Court Reiterates That Employees Are Only Entitled to Tips Under FLSA If A Tip Credit Is Applied

While many state laws regulate the distribution of gratuities (as well as service charges and other fees), the overwhelming judicial view, as originally set forth by the Ninth Circuit in Cumbie v. Woody Woo and joined by district courts in other jurisdictions, holds that an employee’s right to tips under the FLSA flows exclusively from … Continue Reading

NYS Commissioner of Labor Issues Official Wage Board Charge

On Monday, New York Commissioner of Labor Peter Rivera formally issued his Charge to the recently convened 2014 Wage Board.  The Charge, available here, asks the Board to answer the following question: What modifications, if any, should be made to the required cash wage rates and the allowable credits for tips, meals, and lodging, for … Continue Reading

Manhattan Restaurant Prevails On Wage-and-Hour Claims Following Trial

Demoralized by the attendant costs of litigation and a shifting compliance environment in numerous jurisdictions, many hospitality industry employers have resolved wage-and-hour lawsuits brought in New York City and elsewhere over the last number of years.  Bucking this trend, one such employer recently successfully defended its wage practices at trial.  Mendez v. Int’l Food House, … Continue Reading

Maximizing The Use Of The “Chain Of Service” Doctrine To Defend Claims

In cases challenging participation of food service workers other than the quintessential roles with which most diners are familiar (e.g., server/waiter, busboy, etc.) in tip sharing/pooling/splitting arrangements, some courts focus on whether  the position lacked sufficient direct customer interaction to warrant receipt of tips.  See generally Kilgore v. Outback Steakhouse, 160 F.3d 294, 301 (6th … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines Skycaps’ Appeal of Tip Claim Preemption Ruling

Presumably ending the long-running litigation regarding whether certain Massachusetts skycaps’ common law claims challenging the imposition of a $2 curbside baggage handling fee that allegedly caused a reduction in tips are preempted, the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of the First Circuit’s 2013 decision finding those claims preempted by the Airline … Continue Reading

President Obama Continues Push To Increase Federal Minimum Wage, Turns Attention to Tipped Wage

Despite encountering strong opposition to its proposals to raise the federal minimum wage and rewrite the Department of Labor regulations defining the exemptions from overtime under the FLSA, the White House is now requesting Congress raise the minimum wage for “tipped” employees.  Through a report released last week, the President argues that the minimum wage … Continue Reading

Citing To Precedent, Nevada Federal Court Rejects FLSA Tip Claim Asserted By Workers Receiving Minimum Wage

A Nevada federal court’s decision is consistent with  other recent federal court decisions holding that an employee has no claim for allegedly misappropriated gratuities under § 203(m) of the FLSA if no tip credit is taken and the employee receives the full minimum wage before tips, as the FLSA does not create  a property right … Continue Reading

Nevada Supreme Court Okays Tip Pooling

Providing guidance on some longstanding ambiguity regarding the meaning of Nevada’s statute on tip pooling, Nevada’s highest court ruled that an employer may impose mandatory tip pooling on employees and determine to which employees tips may be distributed. The Wynn casino’s tip pooling policy, which was reviewed by the Court and required pooled tips to be … Continue Reading

Following Woody Woo, Federal Court In Utah Rejects Employee Gratuity Claim Since No Tip Credit Taken

Joining several other recent federal court decisions, including a decision invalidating recently promulgated Department of Labor regulations purporting to address the issue, Judge Ted Stewart of the District of Utah has ruled that an employee has no claim for allegedly misappropriated gratuities under the FLSA unless the employer elected to take the tip credit set … Continue Reading

Minnesota High Court Rules: Tips Are Wages

As discussed in greater detail here, the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that gratuities received by night club employees were “wages” within the meaning of Minnesota’s law prohibiting deductions, and thus an employer violated that law when it required employees to pay for “register shortages . . . walkouts . . . [and] unsigned credit-card … Continue Reading
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