Minnesota Supreme Court ruling is big victory for servers at bars and restaurants

Categories: Law
tipJar.jpg
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Tips are property of servers, not their employers, the court ruled.
With no downwardly adjusted minimum wage for tipped employees, Minnesota was already a very good place for servers. But it's even a little bit better following yesterday's Supreme Court ruling.

SEE ALSO: Primebar allegedly flooded former Calhoun Square location by plugging sink, running water

The court ruled bars and restaurants cannot force employees to dip into their tips to compensate for shortages in the till created when customers walk out on a tab or don't sign their credit card receipt. The suit was originally brought in 2010 by a group of more than 750 Drink and Spin nightclub employees who said using tips to make up for till shortfalls was standard practice at their now-failed places of employment.

"This ruling deals with a practice that is sort of the dirty little secret of Twin Cities bars and restaurants -- where if the till's short, you've gotta pay if you want to keep your job," Steven Andrew Smith, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, told the Star Tribune. "It sends the message that you can't do that."

Hennepin County District Court will now determine how much the aggrieved servers should be compensated. A jury who ruled on the case before it was appealed to the Supreme Court awarded $70,000 in damages to the plaintiffs, the Strib reports.

Somewhere, Tom Emmer weeps.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at arupar@citypages.com.

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23 comments
Dog Gone
Dog Gone topcommenter

Tom Emmer is sure they can afford to pay for everything out of their copious tips, and that they make more out of serving than the restaurants do.


In his mind, the proof is that Tony Sutton and his restaurant went bankrupt, in spite of Emmer serving there, for what, half an hour?  If he'd only stuck it out a little longer, why he might have won the governorship, and balanced the state budget, and added unicorns to the state wildlife.

TC4L
TC4L

This makes sense.  If someone ditches a tab who is the server to enforce that.  Their not security.  They shouldn't have to confront someone because that person decides to steal from the business.  It puts a server in a dangerous spot when you follow them to a parking lot and confront someone who may or may not hurt you.  I never understood why this was legal.  Managers and restaurant owners tend to be the cheapest people.  Successful or not.  Still very cheap.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

im ok with this...

servers make too much cheddar though...tips ought not to be expected...especially if the food tastes like water...

i base my tip on several factors - the two main ones being hwo friendly and attentive the server is and how the food reflects the price paid.

if there is little value to my meal you get little in return!

Serverfor10years
Serverfor10years

@digitalprotocol Please quit going out to eat if you possess this mentality...or better yet, why don't you get yourself a serving job and see if you could do any better.  My guess is you will fail...

Tao_of_Dada
Tao_of_Dada

@digitalprotocol  Why ding the servers tip if you don't like the food. They did not prepare the food. If you are unhappy with the food ask for a discount on the food from a manager. Leave the tip based on the service and your love of humanity. To say servers make to much money is to have very low standards of too much money. 

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Serverfor10years the values at eateries is bullshit adn the food is all the sameservers are some of the most selfish and unmotivated people around. they are drunks and addicts and i refuse to pay their way to getting high and drunk...my money, my stomach, my rules

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Tao_of_Dada agreed, prob not too much. 

they may have not prepared the food but they are presenting it to the diner. In my experience, talking to a manager about poor food results in little.

the main problem is the enitre dining industry is stale, lazy, and overpriced.\

almost nowhere offers good values to diners - it pisses me oFF

Onan
Onan

@digitalprotocol @Onan  - "that is pathetic PHD" - Apparently it's more of a doctoral program than the Doctorate in English you seem to have. Oh, wait...

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Onan physical therapy!  come on... that is pathetic PHD

anyways i love that my rant is precious. to me . to you. to anyone


tipping is stoopid and servers are dumb

Onan
Onan

@digitalprotocol  - "dont you need a masters before you can work on a PHD? yes you do

It depends on the program. Oh look, here's an example of a Doctoral program that only requires a B.S. degree:

http://www.mayo.edu/mshs/careers/physical-therapy/physical-therapy-doctoral-program-minnesota

"his Dad comments on stupid arguments on the web??!!??"

I do when it concerns a specific topic and someone posts some screed about something that that poster apparently knows nothing about.

"ever seen the scumbags at an industry night event ... losers"

Yes, I've been to "industry night events" and most of the servers I've run into are just normal working class folks trying to get by. Your precious little rant makes me wonder what sort of "industry night" events you attend.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Onan dont you need a masters before you can work on a PHD? yes you do. dont get me wrong im all for higher ed. out of curiosity, what is his focus. Yes, if it is something i find to be dumb i will make fun of him and you. but this is the web, you have nothoing to lose by sharing...

his Dad comments on stupid arguments on the web??!!??

ever seen the scumbags at an industry night event ... losers

Onan
Onan

@digitalprotocol @Serverfor10years  - "servers are some of the most selfish and unmotivated people around. they are drunks and addicts "  

Like my son, who waited tables to help pay for his undergraduate degree and is now in Grad School working on his Doctorate. I'll be sure to call him "unmotivated and selfish" the next time I speak to him.

bcgranite
bcgranite

@digitalprotocol servers do a lot more than moving plates around. They clean and stock both in the kitchen and restaurant. They work long hours on their feet and have to put up with abusive and nasty customers. In some restaurants, servers, especially females, are harrassed by customers and cooks.   Working with the public is hard work but working with the hungry public is even harder. 

MinneapolisMang
MinneapolisMang

@digitalprotocol You should try serving sometime. Do it for a month. Then you'll realize why you sound like a total asshole. Serving is very, very hard work.

mingtran
mingtran topcommenter

You don't know the spots or the times to hit those spots. Mpls has one of thd most thriving food scenes in the country. Get out of the basement and experience life.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@Onan not me buddy, im @digitalprotocol - follow me on twitter to become enlightened 

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

@meesh427 i am a cheapskate - i dont feel like i need to pay for someone moving a plate 20 ft

its my money, tipping is optional

maybe if they are nice and fun they get atip

here's a tip :

Portland is a one-way pizza dude

meesh427
meesh427

@digitalprotocol @Tao_of_Dada Not tipping on something out of the server's control is just an excuse for you to be a cheapskate. 

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