Hospitality Industry Legal Risks: Ohio Restaurant Operator Sued For “Fair Labor Standards Act” Violations And “Unjust Enrichment”; Employees Forced To “Tip Out” Managers And Others Not Regularly Receiving Tips

“…According to the lawsuit, restaurant employees weren’t allowed to keep all of their tips because they were required to “tip Hospitality Industry Wage Violation Lawsuitsout” managers and other employees who do not regularly and customarily receive tips. That resulted in employees’ being paid less than minimum wage…a tip pool can’t include managers or other workers, such as chefs or dishwashers, who don’t typically receive tips…The lawsuit requests a jury trial for five counts of Fair Labor Standard Act violations and a count of unjust enrichment. It seeks an unspecified amount in damages that (the attorney) said would ultimately prove “substantial.””

A federal lawsuit filed Monday alleges that Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment, which runs Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse and Jeff Ruby’s Carlo & Johnny, forced employees to share tips with managers and other workers in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The practice allegedly stopped about a year ago, but lawyers for three former employees aim to recoup losses from a two-year period beginning in 2010.

Lawyers Sarah Clay Leyshock and Kristen M. Myers – both of the law firm Beckman Weil Shepardson LLC – filed the class-action suit on behalf of the three former employees as well as anyone else who might step forward in the case. Two of the represented employees worked at Carlo & Johnny in Montgomery while the third worked at the Downtown steakhouse, Leyshock said.

“Under the Fair Labor Standard Act, employees are required to retain their own tips. The one exception is that employees can be required to share their tips in a valid tip pool,” Leyshock said. She said invalid tip pools are fairly common, but still illegal.

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