by Mark A. McNitzky, Ogletree Deakins, San Antonio
You may have heard that the Department of Labor has been focusing some of its enforcement efforts on low-wage service industries, particularly restaurants and fast- food outlets. That’s true. But federal courts are also stepping in to ensure that low-wage employees get every penny they are entitled to.
That’s what recently happened when the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a tip-pooling case that the employee who makes coffee in the back (the barista) should not be participating in the restaurant’s tip pool.
In Montano v. Montrose Restaurant Associates, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a decision of the Southern District of Texas in which the trial court had granted summary judgment in favor of a restaurant.
The issue: whether it was permissible under the Fair Labor Standards Act ((register to read more)) for the restaurant to include a back-end barista in a mandatory tip-pooling...