US Appeals Court Rules for Bartenders, Waiters in Tip Fight - NBC 7 San Diego
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US Appeals Court Rules for Bartenders, Waiters in Tip Fight

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    CHICAGO - JUNE 21: Bartender Ryan Christensen serves a beer at Lottie's, a corner bar with a checkered history of gambling, gangsters and political pay-offs in the city's Bucktown neighborhood June 21, 2005 in Chicago, Illinois. Neighborhood taverns in the city once numbered several thousand but have dwindled to less than 1,500 as gentrification and Mayor Richard Daley's less-than-friendly attitude toward neighborhood taverns has taken a toll on the numbers. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

    A U.S. appeals court is siding with bartenders and waiters in a fight over whether restaurants can pay them less because they receive tips.

    Under federal law, an employer can pay workers who receive tips as little as $2.13 an hour as long as their tips bring their earnings to minimum wage.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday said employers cannot use that tip credit when the workers are engaged in tasks such as cleaning toilets that don't offer tips and are not related to bartending or serving.

    The ruling revived a lawsuit by 14 bartenders and servers accusing restaurant chains including P.F. Chang's China Bistro and J. Alexander's of failing to pay minimum wage.

    Emails to attorneys for the two restaurant chains were not immediately returned.

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