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Pelons employees file suit to remedy improper tip-pooling.

On Thursday, July 27, 2017, Moreland Law Firm, P.C. filed suit in Federal Court in Austin, Texas against Pelons Tex-Mex Restaurant on behalf of Jeremy Mohica and a class of Pelons servers (the “Servers”).

The Servers brought claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA“) against Pelons, a downtown Austin restaurant. The FLSA is the federal law that requires employers pay their employees minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) and overtime (time and a half). For tipped employees, employers can pay employees just $2.13 per hour and credit the employee’s tips toward the total $7.25 per hour minimum wage. The FLSA also allows employers to require its tipped employees participate in tip-pooling with other tipped employees.

But an employer may not require that a tipped employee share their tips with a non-tipped employee like managers, dishwashers, chefs, or other back of the house employees. If they do, the employer is unable to credit tips towards those employees’ minimum wage and likely must reimburse the employees for unpaid minimum wage (up to $5.12 per hour worked) and for the tips that were improperly shared with the non-tipped employee.

In the lawsuit, the Servers allege that they were forced to participate in a tip pool that included a back of the house dishwasher over the course of two years. The Servers are seeking their unpaid minimum wages for the period and also reimbursement of the tips they were forced to share with the dishwasher.

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