New Lawsuit Against Tipped Min. Wage Pay

There is another poster here on Fool who will back me up on this: the bars in Key West treat bartenders and waitresses as “Tipped Minimum Wage” earners who get $2.13 per hour and who must declare tips for their taxes.

This other poster was a barback. I was a DJ. But my brothers and sisters tending bar and serving drinks to tables, many nights during off-season, would not make up in tips what they were expected to add to the $2.13 from the bar to equal “minimum wage.”

I can remember waitresses and bartenders getting checks from the bar for $0.00 after working 40+ hours and the thinking was the bar was viewing what servers should have made during busy weeks.

I can remember the last bar I worker where bartenders made $0.00 on their paychecks for over 80+ hours worked.

That said, here’s the story:

Jillian Melton was paid just $2.13 per hour — the lowest legal cash wage in the U.S. — during her six years at Seasons 52 Wine Bar and Grill in Memphis, Tennessee. The rest of her income came from tips, which could vary widely depending on the day of the week or the whim of the customer.

Melton also says she witnessed discrimination on the job — not only from customers but also from the store’s management. As a young, lighter-skinned Black woman of mixed heritage, Melton says she was often assigned by her managers to the busiest, most front-facing sections of the restaurant along with her white and young coworkers. But her older and darker-skinned Black coworkers were given emptier sections where tips would only slowly trickle in — a pattern of discrimination based on colorism, racism, and ageism that resulted in her bringing home vastly more tips.

“There would be nights where I made $300 to $400 and my coworker would go home with $60 or $80. And that was normal,” said Melton.

I had to look up the symbol $DRI after I saw Darden named in this suit:

Today, One Fair Wage, which represents over 200,000 service workers and 800 restaurant workers, is filing an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, to a lawsuit that was dismissed last year. The group alleges that Darden pays the lowest legal cash wage in every state and lacks policies to redistribute tips between workers, facilitating a discriminatory system where the civil rights of people of color and women are violated.