On December 17, 2019, Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP filed a class and collective action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida against restaurants Kiki on the River and Mandrake (“Defendants”) for unpaid wages. This lawsuit seeks to recover minimum wages, overtime wages, misappropriated tips, and other damages on behalf of all servers, bussers, runners, bartenders and other tipped workers (collectively, “Tipped Employees”) who work or have worked at Kiki on the River or Mandrake.
In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Kiki on the River and Mandrake paid its Tipped Employees at or below the applicable “tipped” minimum wage rate but failed to satisfy the strict requirements under the FLSA that would allow them to apply a “tip credit” to Tipped Employees’ wages. For example, they failed to provide tipped workers with proper notification of the tipped minimum wage rate or tip credit provisions of the FLSA, or of their intent to apply a tip credit to their wages. Defendants also maintained a policy and practice of charging its customers a 22% gratuity labeled as a “service charge” and kept 5% of the gratuities left to Tipped Employees as part of its mandatory tip pooling arrangement. These service charges were gratuities because customers had the discretion to reduce or remove it from their bill and Defendants should not have received any portion of these service charges.
Additionally, Tipped Employees were required to share a portion of their total tips with sushi chefs at Mandrake. Under the FLSA, a worker’s eligibility to earn tips depends on their interaction with customers. Here, the Plaintiff alleges that sushi chefs did not have enough customer interaction to receive tips because they did not take customers’ orders or deliver food or beverages to customers.
These violations are not uncommon in the restaurant industry. Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP focuses in wage and hour violations in employment law and can offer helpful insight if you have questions about how you are being paid. If you or anyone you know works or has worked at Kiki on the River or Mandrake as a Tipped Employee or would like a free consultation for an employment matter, please call us at (212) 300-0375 or visit our website for additional information.
You may also view the complaint here.