Will wildfire season soon last all year long? And people say Phoenix is too young to have much history. Writer Jon Talton strongly disagrees.
Reality show debacle spurs questions about tipped employees
Tuesday, a scandal-plagued restaurant in Scottsdale is set to reopen. The case has generated social media buzz, but it has also raised important legal questions about employees who receive tips.
NICK BLUMBERG: Amy’s Baking Company shot to infamy after appearing on the FOX reality show “Kitchen Nightmares.” Here is host Gordon Ramsay asking a waitress about the money she makes on the job.
GORDON RAMSAY: Good tips?
WAITRESS: I don’t make tips.
RAMSAY: Say that again?
WAITRESS: I make hourly.
RAMSAY: Serious? You must be the only server in this country --
WAITRESS: I know.
RAMSAY: -- that doesn’t get tipped out. So where do the tips go?
WAITRESS: The owner.
BLUMBERG: In Arizona, minimum wage for waiters is $4.80 an hour, as long as they make at least $3 an hour in tips. The owner has since said publicly that employees were paid an hourly wage, between $8 and $14 an hour, but it is not clear whether employer set up a tip pool to be shared or whether the owner only paid his employees hourly and kept the tips.
MATT FENDON: Yeah, it’s very unusual.
BLUMBERG: Matt Fendon is an employment attorney in Phoenix. He does not think an employer keeping tips and paying a hourly wage would be illegal under Arizona law, but federal law specifically says tips are always the property of an employee.
FENDON: You could have federal law contradicting state law, and in that situation, the federal law would trump.
BLUMBERG: Tens of thousands of people have signed an online petition asking federal and state agencies to investigate Amy’s Baking Company for breaking the law. In a statement, the owners say they are praying for an understanding and a comeback.