Restaurants and hotels will be prohibited from sharing automatic gratuities in Rhode Island, according to a bill (H 7566) introduced into the Rhode Island Legislature. This proposed legislation would be the best protection for waiters’ rights in the nation.
The bill prohibits employers from making any deductions from the tip or service charge given to the waitstaff, servers, or bartenders by a customer. The bill also prohibits restaurants from making any deductions from credit card gratuities. Although the bill provides that a restaurant can administer a valid tip pool, it prohibits distribution of waiter tips to any person who is not a waitstaff employee. Notably, a waitstaff employee is defined as someone who serves food directly to a customer and has “no managerial responsibility”.
The proposed legislation provides for lost wages, triple damages, and attorney’s fees as the remedy for violation of the wage law.