Woman Gets $1,000 Mother’s Day Tip at Waffle House Restaurant, but Company Says She Can’t Have It!

Our New York tip pool violation attorneys have spilled a lot of “virtual ink” talking about the trials and tribulations that restaurant workers face.

Sometimes, managers “nickel and dime” tipped employees by illegally pooling and then sharing their hard-won tips. Other times, restaurants unfairly confiscate tips (also illegally) to punish. And sometimes, awkward company policy just organically creates heartbreaking hassles.

In this case, fortunately, the story had a happy ending.

A Raleigh, North Carolina waitress, Shaina Brown, received an amazing tip on Mother’s Day from an altruistic customer. Ms. Brown had been working the night shift, when an anonymous man left her a $1,000 tip on his credit card. Great news, right? Except that Waffle House refused to let her have the money! A company spokesperson later told the Raleigh News & Observer that Waffle House automatically refunds big extra charges on credit cards to avoid disputes with customers. Unless the big tip was left via cash or check, the waitress couldn’t get it.

In this case, Ms. Brown struggled not because managers stole her tip but because sheer bureaucratic inertia stymied her. She told WDTV, a local Raleigh station, that the rescinding of her tip “humiliated” her. It sure sounds like a painful blow — spontaneously getting and then suddenly losing $1,000 is no small deal.

Fortunately, the altruistic customer heard about her issues with the tip and contacted her to write her a check directly — a second generous act from the gentleman!

And therein lies the silver lining in all of this.

Bureaucracies and bad managers can prevent restaurant workers from collecting tips and other compensation, but there are “forces of good” in the world that can fight for justice and fairness.

We like to think that some of the work that we’ve done here at Joseph & Kirschenbaum has helped level the playing field and make life easier/simpler/fairer for our clients. If you have a question about a potential New York wage and hour case, we’d like to hear from you.

Call us now at (212) 688-5640, or email at us info@jhllp for a free consultation.