Lynn’s Paradise Café was a Louisville, Kentucky icon. While people may have argued about the quality of the food, there was no denying the fact that the décor and atmosphere was completely unique, and that it helped the city’s restaurant scene. It was featured in several food shows, including Throwdown with Bobby Flay, in which he challenged Lynn Winters to a breakfast food contest.
But what happened behind the scenes at Lynn’s may never be known for sure, because the restaurant was suddenly closed on January 11, 2013. With a simple sign on the door and no notice to its employees, the quirky restaurant ceased operations after 22 years. While Lynn has said it was simply time for her to do something different, her ex-employees are saying they were subjected to harassment and forced to bring their own money to work.
While there has not been much additional information from reputable sources on the harassment claims, much has been written about the second issue. According to news reports, all of the servers were recently required to bring $100 with them every time they worked. This money was supposed to be used to “tip out” to the other wait staff, like those who bus the tables. Before the days of credit cards, servers received their tips right away out of the cash used to pay for the meal. Even with credit card payments, some restaurants still give tips to their servers at the end of each shift. However, Lynn’s had apparently changed their policy so that the credit card tips were included in their paychecks. This most likely led to a shortage of tip money to share with the other wait staff at the end of a shift.
But to require someone who is barely scraping by to bring $100 every time he or she reported to work seems a bit extreme. And according to Kentucky employment law, restaurants are not allowed to require servers to share tips with anyone. Further complications may have arisen if a server had already shared tips with the other wait staff and then the credit card charges to cover the tip never came through. Situations like this involving potential Kentucky labor law violations are investigated by the Kentucky Labor Cabinet. But because a formal complaint has not been filed with the Cabinet, no investigation is being conducted so far.
Kentucky employment laws regarding wages and tips are difficult to understand and can change. That is why it is important to contact a Kentucky employment law attorney if you think you are being unfairly compensated or that you have been denied any type of pay to which you are entitled. The attorneys at Miller & Falkner have several years of experience in helping hard-working Kentuckians receive the compensation they deserve.
Lynn’s Paradise Cafe tipping policy may violate Kentucky law, labor lawyers say; The Courier-Journal; Chris Otts; January 19, 2013