New York’s top restaurants plagued by tip trouble

September 18, 2008

© Author Christine Kearney, Reuters.

NEW YORK - Seasoned travelers know that waiters in the United States expect tips of 15 to 20 percent — $60 on a $300 dinner for two at one of New York's top restaurants.

What is less well known is that the money doesn't all go to the waiters and more lowly staff.

In lawsuits filed in the last three years, staff have accused dozens of New York restaurants, including many well known ones, of stealing tips and cheating them out of wages.


Carolyn Richmond, an attorney representing several restaurants, blamed decades-old workplace labor laws, as well as state and federal laws that do not clearly state who can share in tips and how they should be divided.

"It is a result of these antiquated laws and regulations that plaintiff class action lawyers have been able to swoop in and take advantage," she said.