A server named Emily Bauer in San Antonio was swamped over the holiday weekend when a customer gave her a remarkably generous tip. Ms. Bauer was working a shift as a server at the Red Hook Seafood and Bar when a kind patron left her a $2,000 tip with a note that said "Merry Christmas! Keep working hard!"
The restaurant initially withheld the $2,000 tip from Ms. Bauer because it supposedly had a maximum tip policy of $500 (that was not written anywhere). Then, miraculously, the restaurant changed course and found a way to honor the tip it was likely legally obligated to pay the server.
Servers are often classified as Tipped Employees whose pay is primarily made up of tips. Tipped Employees can be paid as little as $2.13 per hour if they are receiving at least minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) when the hourly wage is combined with the tips. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, in order for an employer to receive the “tip credit” where they can pay the employee as little as $2.13 per hour and not the full $7.25 per hour, “all tips received by the tipped employee are to be retained by the employee” (except for a valid tip pooling arrangement).
Many of our clients have fallen victim to schemes where employers have withheld some or all of the tips received by servers. Please contact us if you have any questions about your rights as a tipped employee.
You can read the KENS5 San Antonio story here.