A former waiter for “Graham Elliot,” a popular Chicago restaurant owned by Celebrity Chef Graham Elliot, claims that the restaurant maintained an illegal tip pool which included cooks and food runners, positions which do not customarily receive tips.
According to the Complaint, Gregory Curtis, who worked as a server at the restaurant, alleges that the restaurant violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by requiring waiters and waitresses to share a percentage of their tips with employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips because they have little to no interaction with customers. As a result of the illegal tip pool, Curtis claims that his minimum wage should have been at the full minimum wage rather than at the tipped minimum wage, which is at a reduced rate. In other words, lawyers for the waiter argue that the restaurant should not be entitled to take a tip credit because it maintained an illegal tip pool. The lawsuit seeks to recover unpaid wages, compensatory damages and attorneys’ fees.