Mt. Vernon Register-News

CNHI Special Projects

July 10, 2013

Why tipping is bad for everyone

(Continued)

The only real beneficiary of the preposterously complicated tip credit is lawyers. Imagine what it's like for a company running restaurants in multiple states. There's no tip credit in some states, like California and Washington, where tipped employees must be paid the full minimum wage. Hawaii allows the tip credit only if the combined tip and cash wage surpass the statewide minimum hourly wage by 50 cents. New York and Connecticut have different minimum wages for servers, hotel employees, and bartenders.

Then you have to consider time that employees spend on activities not likely to yield tips. Applebee's, for example, has suffered a series of legal setbacks in lawsuits brought by tipped employees seeking back pay for time spent cleaning toilets and washing glassware.

The laws regarding tip sharing and tip pooling, which occur in virtually every restaurant, are even more complicated. Federal law allows mandatory tip sharing, but only among employees who customarily receive either direct or indirect tips. That means servers, bussers, food runners and hosts and hostesses can be required to pool their tips with each other, but not with managers. Unfortunately, the line between service and management is fuzzy in many restaurants, and differences between state laws further complicate matters. A California judge ordered Starbucks to pay $105 million in 2008 for forcing 100,000 baristas to share tips with supervisors. Last week, the New York Court of Appeals reached the opposite conclusion, ruling that New York law allows the arrangement. Chili's has also lost a multimillion dollar judgment over tip sharing.

The entire mess is begging for some certainty and predictability. Restaurants need a clear set of rules to follow. Servers should have a steadier income stream. Hosts and bussers, who have relatively little interaction with customers, ought not to be involved in tipping at all. Customers need more clarity as well, instead of worrying at the end of a meal if the waiter, or your guests, approve of your 17 percent tip.

Text Only
CNHI Special Projects
  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona's prolonged lethal injection is fourth in U.S. this year

    Arizona's execution of double-murderer Joseph Wood marked the fourth time this year that a state failed to dispatch a convict efficiently, according to the Constitution Project, a bipartisan legal group.3

    July 24, 2014

  • Facebook continues moneymaking trend

    Facebook seems to have figured out - for now at least - the holy grail for all media right now: how to make money selling mobile ads.

    July 24, 2014

  • 072214 Diamond Llama 1.jpg Llama on the loose corralled in Missouri town

    A llama on the lam cruised Main Street Tuesday before it mistook a resident’s fenced backyard for a place to grab a meal and freshen up.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.12.33 PM.png Gunshots narrowly miss TV reporter

    A reporter for a West Virginia television station narrowly escaped injury or worse Monday while covering a fatal weekend shooting in Beckley.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks