Former Hard Rock Servers Sue Over Tip Policy

They say it led to them making less than minimum wage
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2011 6:52 PM CST
George Lopez reacts after ceremoniously smashing a guitar during the grand opening of the Hard Rock Cafe Hollywood Boulevard, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Hard Rock International/Rene Macura)

(Newser) – Two former servers at the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando—the chain's biggest site—are suing because they say the restaurant illegally paid them less than minimum wage for three years, the Orlando Sentinel reports. They say Hard Rock broke the law by requiring them to share tips not only with other servers and bartenders but with kitchen staffers. They ended up making less than minimum wage—it's $7.25 in Florida—and want the difference repaid.

"In this economy, servers and bartenders need all the tips they can get," one of their attorneys tells the Broward Palm Beach New Times. "Hard Rock should have known that a tip-sharing arrangement that included kitchen staff violated Florida and federal law." They're seeking class-action status. Hard Rock says the allegations "do not accurately reflect how Hard Rock pays it employees." Writes New Times' Jeff Stratton: "The real crime is that minimum wage isn't up to $10 an hour by now."

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