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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:07 PM
Original message
Hotel Workers Sue Eight Major Hotels for Stealing Their Tips
I heard about this briefly on the radio last night. It sounded like the workers tried to get their money without a lawsuit but the hotels refused to pay it to them. So they filed a lawsuit.


HOTEL WORKERS SUE EIGHT HOTELS, INCLUDING LAX HILTON, LAX WESTIN, FOUR POINTS

Labor Desk
September 6, 2007

HOTEL WORKERS ALLEGE HOTELS BROKE CITY LAW REQUIRING ALL SERVICE CHARGES BE PAID DIRECTLY TO EMPLOYEES.

Today, employees at eight LAX area hotels - the Four Points, Marriott, Renaissance, Embassy Suites, Courtyard, Westin, Hilton and Radisson - filed class action lawsuits in Los Angeles Superior Court against the hotels for violating a recently enacted city law requiring LAX area hotels to pay to their employees all tips and services fees collected on their behalf. Despite the law, the hotels have continued to pocket the fees that they are collecting on behalf of their employees.

The Hotel Service Charge Reform Ordinance was passed by the Los Angeles City Council on November 22, 2006 and signed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on November 27, 2006. It became effective on January 1, 2007. Because the hotels lead consumers to believe that the fees they are paying are going to the employees who serve them, the Ordinance is intended to protect both workers and consumers. Despite the fact that the statute has been in place since the start of the year, none of these eight LAX area hotels have changed their practices to comply with the clear language of the ordinance. For example, while the Hilton LAX, Four Points, Radisson and Westin charge a fee of up to 20% for all food and beverages served at banquets and room service, the hotels refuse to pay the collected charges to its servers.

The amount of fees and gratuities withheld by the eight hotels is staggering, with a typical Century Boulevard Hotel doing an estimated $5,000,000 - $6,000,000 a year in banquet business alone. The result is these hotels are pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars owed their employees.

Randy Renick, attorney for the employees, stated in bringing these lawsuits, the employees seek to bring an end to the 8 hotels despicable and unlawful practice of misappropriating their employees tips. The workers want to obtain those tips which the consumers expected that they would receive.

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Jacobin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:09 PM
Response to Original message
1. Jeeze. What are these kleptocrats going to do next?
Take the coins out of the wishing wells?

Raid the charity jars for victims of whatever?
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
9. They'll make the first illegal
and confiscate the second.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. Well, in case you were wondering how much is enough, now you know.
"Enough" doesn't exist.

You must always have more, even if it means fucking housekeeping and waitstaff out of their tips.

More.

More and more and more.

You MUST have MORE.
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. The bitter irony is
for people who receive tips, aren't employers allowed to pay less than the minimum wage?

I've felt that to be a complete injustice ever since I first learned it way back when. It's "Federal minimum- except!"

And now we learn they're taking away the very same gratuity they use to justify paying lower than the minimum in the first place.

It's hearing crap like this that makes me want to force- yes, force- restaurants, bars, hotels, and whatnot to pay the federal minimum PLUS gratuity. There's no reasonable excuse I can come up with why they don't do otherwise, other than "they'll make it up in tips", which is a bullshit cop-out.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. And the IRS automatically assumes you have received
a certain amount in tips, and taxes you for it.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 12:06 AM
Response to Reply #13
25. only if you report your tips
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shanti Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 12:09 AM
Response to Reply #13
27. sounds like a racket to me!
:mad:
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XOKCowboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 12:11 AM
Response to Reply #6
28. We were asked in London why we Americans pay more than the bill...
by a British couple we'd met. We tried to explain the American system of paying a minimal wage and the wait staff depending on tips. This was met with a blank stare and really we couldn't justify it. It's a stupid system. There is no justifying it.
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China_cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. And then they report these tips as having been paid
so that the employee finds him/her-self in the office of an IRS agent trying to explain that no, he/she didn't really make that much.

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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
3. Good for them!
And hatrack's right... these greedy fuckers will stop at nothing... for the smallest of amounts. Their greed knows NO bounds.
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
4. Do they have receipts to show they recieved any tips?
:sarcasm:
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Their receipts were examined.
Even though the tips were listed on the receipt, the cops were called and the offending housekeepers were arrested for obstructing official business.

:spank: :rofl: :spank:
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #4
21. Actually they would need to have receipts showing they DIDN'T receive tips.
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Trillo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
5. Good. Hope the hotels lose.
I remember years ago that waitresses could be paid less than minimum wage because they earned tips (I could be wrong about this), and I also seem to recall other stories that for taxation purposes they are assumed to earn more than their hourly compensation.

I'm so tired of little people getting the routine shaft from the wealthy.
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Occulus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. AFAIK, that's still the case
My dad once told me "we pay tips because the waiters and waitresses depend on them."

THEN I found out WHY. I've been ticked about it ever since.
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sandnsea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:32 PM
Response to Original message
10. OMG! - and Oregon waitresses make real minimum - $7.80
There is no reason for any state to not pay full minimum to waitresses.

And I cannot friggin' believe this and am now TOTALLY PISSED at the times I've been charged for this and thought my wait staff was being compensated.

This has got to be the lowest yet.
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
22. Especially when it's eight different chains. They must have collectively decided
to ignore the law and RIP OFF THEIR EMPLOYEES!!!

:grr:

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robinlynne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
12. unbelievable!!!!!!!!
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
14. The city should bring criminal charges.
And if there isn't an appropriate law, then they should enact one. Though I don't know why ordinary laws against theft and fraud wouldn't suffice.
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POAS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:02 PM
Response to Original message
15. Can we get a link???? Thanks!!!!
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:20 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. YES! Sorry, forgot it... LINK IN HERE!
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POAS Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:27 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Thanks
I wanted to post that somewhere else!
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LiberalAndProud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:08 PM
Response to Original message
16. My daughter is a waitress.
The restaurant pays her $2.13/hr. Restaurants expect that the actual paycheck will be $0.00. The $2.13 goes for payroll taxes.
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XOKCowboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 12:49 AM
Response to Reply #16
29. I'm sorry but that's a bullshit system!
There really is no justification for that. Waitpeople work their butts off dealing with a lot of real assholes, on their feet running and working constantly for 8+ hrs day. To have to depend completely on the largess of the general public is a stupid system!
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earth mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:17 PM
Response to Original message
17. Years ago, I worked banquets at some big name hotels and we got paid wages plus tips.
I was surprised to learn that the big hotels around here are only paying the banquet help a flat hourly wage and I wondered how they were getting away without paying a "tip rate" as we used to call it. Now I get it. The greedy bastards are out and out stealing! :grr:
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XOKCowboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 02:40 PM
Response to Reply #17
35. You got it all right...
I'm behind the banquet workers all the way. Most people don't know (and don't care) what goes on behind the scenes at the banquets and conventions in those hotels. Oh and you better believe there's a 10-20% "gratuity" on the bill that the organizer signs at the end of the night.

These workers deserve what's theirs.
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cui bono Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 06:21 PM
Response to Original message
19. *** LINK TO STORY IN HERE ***
http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.a...

So sorry, I forgot to put it in the OP and it's too late to edit.

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fed-up Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-06-07 11:55 PM
Response to Original message
23. At 17YO I turned in IHOP for reducing our check 25 cents an hour because we made tips
The restaurants had challenged a recent law that stated they no longer could cut our wage since we made tips, but the restaurant owner thought he did not have to follow the new law "because it was still tied up in court". Even at the tender age of 17 I knew there was something stinky about his statement. Thank goodness there was a work experience coordinator at my high school and he taught me all about the labor commissioner...

That was my first (but not last) brush with labor laws back in 1975.

I did manage to get everyone a retroactive paycheck for their (stolen) earnings. And was promptly fired a week later. I had thought about moving to Marin County at the time and that was the little extra shove I needed.



Sometime in the 1980's a law was passsed that waitresses in California and a few other tipped professions had to claim at least 8% of their total sales as tips. Sales checks had to be tallied each and every day. I really hated when people put tips on credit cards as then we had to claim the entire amount (usually 15% back in the 1980's) instead of the 8% assumed. We shared our tips with the hostess (hopefully she liked you and would not give you all the lousy tippers), the bartender, the busboys and girls, the dishwashers and the cooks (cooks got paid more, so they weren't tipped as much asa the busboys/girls. Dishwashers usually got the smallest percentage of our tips (even though they probably worked the hardest of anyone in the restaurant).

When I did banquet work the tip was divided amongst the waitresses and then we tipped out the busboys and cooks.



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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 02:39 AM
Response to Reply #23
32. 8%?? Anything under 12% is an automatic audit here.
Never mind who you tip out.

God help you if you average 15%.

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XOKCowboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 12:04 AM
Response to Original message
24. WHO CARES? A guy had to show his receipt at Circuit City!
Sorry for the snark. Just kinda disgusted after reading DU today.

I've worked with those same banquet employees in all of those hotels and they work their asses off. I support them all the way.
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ComerPerro Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 12:07 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. not just any guy. An Ayn Rand worshipping con artist
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Evoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 02:09 AM
Response to Original message
30. This is fucking bullshit.
Now I'm going to have to start asking the hotel staff if they get their tips. Unbelievable. And these asswipes wonder why they can't get good help...with all that fucking incentive :eyes:
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yewberry Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 02:42 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. You can ask, but they probably won't know.
That's why this has kept going on.

Hotels pay banquet staff by the week, not by the function, and they don't often keep the contracts available to the staff. So, the staff never knows what service charge per worker per function is.

Nice, huh?

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blogslut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 02:30 AM
Response to Original message
31. Good for them
I was a waitron unit for 14 years, therefore I make it a point to always tip generously. To know that those hotels are pocketing the tips I give out, well... :mad:
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marions ghost Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 05:07 AM
Response to Original message
34. good
I'm glad the waitpersons are fighting back. Look how the laws have no teeth in a corrupt society. Nobody --not even 'respected' business chains-- merely comply with the law. You have to fight everything.

American workers have put up with this crap for so long. We are far too willing to sacrifice, to put up with, to make do with less.

This is just reducing people to nothing more than slaves while the corporations skim off profits.

Typical American bidness ethics.
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Missy Vixen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 02:55 PM
Response to Original message
36. Okay, here's a question that's dumber than paste
Is this the only instance?

How many other chains are doing the same thing and haven't gotten caught yet?

The tipping thing gets pretty damn expensive after awhile. I'd like to make sure those I gave the tip to are actually getting it.

Julie
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XOKCowboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 03:10 PM
Response to Reply #36
37. Well consider that...
the banquet staff in most hotels are hired on at minimum wage (and are mostly Hispanic) and most hotels are viciously anti-union. The workers really have no power to complain since the hotel can easily replace them.

It wouldn't surprise me if the LAX hotels are just the tip of the iceberg. I just wonder if anyone cares?
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 03:17 PM
Response to Original message
38. Good for them!
It's legally their money and I'm sure they need the income more than those who are not getting it.
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mountainvue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-07-07 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
39. This kind of thing has been going on for a long time.
These suits are probably just the beginning.
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