Employment: Waitress Paid Only In Tips Would Recover Wage-Related Damages Under FLSA And New York Labor Law At Regular Minimum Wage Rate

A waitress who was paid only in tips could recover wage-related damages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law at the regular minimum wage rate. Had the restaurant owners paid the waitress, they might have been able to treat a portion of her tips as a credit against their wage obligations under both federal and state law and pay her at a rate below regular minimum wage. It was not clear they intended to take advantage of those tip credit provisions, and even if they had, they would not have been entitled to do so as both state and federal law imposed certain notice requirements on employers that were “strict” prerequisites to taking such credits.
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