Friday, October 15, 2010

Mario Batali Sued in NYC for Tip Pooling Violations

Workers at Mario Batali's Del Posto restaurant in New York filed suit in federal court this week alleging violations of wage and hour laws relating to tip pooling.  According to CBS news and the Associated Press, Batali and his partners are already defending similar suits filed against some of Batali's other restaurants.  Read the full story here: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/10/13/business/main6954590.shtml.

In California, gratuity and tip pooling is governed by California Labor Code section 351. Section 351 prohibits restaurant owners/employers from keeping any portion of a tip or gratuity left for a waiter/waitress by the restaurant's patrons.  In addition, if a patron leaves a tip on a credit card slip, the restaurant employer must pay the server the full amount of the tip and may not deduct credit card processing fees.

Section 351 does permit tip pooling, however, including involuntary tip pooling requiring servers to share tips with bartenders, bus staff, hosts, hostesses, or any other employee who provides "direct table service."  Employees who may not share in the pooled tips include managers, dish washers, and in most circumstances, chefs and cooks.  For more information about tip pooling in California, check out the Department of Industrial Relations website: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_tipsandgratutities.htm.

Monday, October 4, 2010

California Supreme Court Rules Schwarzenegger's Furloughs Legal

The California Supreme Court issued its highly awaited ruling this morning, finding that Governor Schwarzenegger's December 2008 executive order requiring unpaid furloughs for over 200,000 state workers was legal and that those workers were not entitled to back pay.  (Associated Press, Sacramento Bee)

Key to the Supreme Court's decision was the fact that the state Legislature passed a budget revision which included a reduction in appropriations for employee compensation in "an amount that reflected the savings the Governor sought to obtain through the two-day-a-month furlough program."

The furloughs were effective from February 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010 and saved California approximately $3 billion.

Read the full decision here:   http://media.sacbee.com/smedia/2010/10/04/10/furloughs.source.prod_affiliate.4.pdf