Delivery Workers Cannot be Paid a Tip Credit says Connecticut Supreme Court

There has been an important development for tipped workers in the state of Connecticut. The Connecticut Supreme court has decided that delivery workers cannot be paid a tip credit instead of the full minimum wage rate. The norm had been that businesses like hotels and restaurants would pay its delivery workers the reduced minimum wage because they were earning tips, however, this recent decision points out that the law may have been misinterpreted all along. Delivery workers may have always been entitled to receive the minimum wage rate for all of the hours they worked.

What brought this decision about?

A recent case brought against a pizza chain by the Connecticut Department of Labor (CT DOL) rejected the idea that delivery workers are comparable to servers at a restaurant. The CT DOL determined that the service that delivery workers provided to customers was very limited in that they only interacted with them while handing off their food at the door.  They spent most of their time traveling to a customer’s home and on other duties for which they were not able to earn tips. The pizza chain appealed the decision and on April 4, 2017, the Connecticut Supreme Court affirmed that the CT DOL had reached a reasonable decision. The labor laws did not intend for employees like delivery workers to be paid a tip credit as such a small portion of their day allowed them to receive gratuities.

What does this mean for delivery workers?

If you have been employed as delivery worker who was earning a reduced minimum wage rate known as a tip-credit, you may be owed wages. This decision enforces the fact delivery workers do not have the same opportunities as other tipped workers in the service industry to earn tips and therefore should not be paid at the same rate.

What can be done?

If you or anyone you know has worked as a delivery driver for a restaurant and has questions about their pay structures please call the employment attorneys of Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP. You may have been paid incorrectly and be owed wages. We offer a free phone consultation with an experienced attorney who will listen to your concerns and let you know if they can assist you. You can reach us at (212) 300-0375 or visit our website for more information.