Sushi case shows how complicated tip credit can be — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Sushi case shows how complicated tip credit can be

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A case recently filed in the Southern District of Florida illustrates just how complicated the tip credit provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act can be.

In that case, Lorna Ash, a hostess at a Sushi Samba restaurant, claims the restaurant forfeited its right to claim the tip credit because it distributed tips to employees who weren’t eligible to receive them.

The controversy turns on the question of whether sushi chefs are tip-eligible employees.

Sushi Samba says they are because in its restaurant, the chefs prepare the food at a table located in the middle of the dining room. According to the restaurant, the chefs frequently interact with patrons and are putting on a show for the diners.

Ash maintains the chefs aren’t eligible for tips because their jobs are simply to prepare the food.

Sushi Samba asked the court to dismiss Ash’s lawsuit, but the court said it should go forward. It reasoned Ash raised enough issues to have a jury decide whether Sushi Samba had violated the complicated rule.

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