Tag Archives: Per Se

Per Se to Pay $500,000 for Stealing Waiters’ Tips

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Per Se, one of New York’s best and most expensive restaurants, settled a wage violation case with Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for $500,000.

A Department of Labor investigation revealed that Per Se was keeping the 20% service charge it charged customers. The surcharges, considered a “gratuity” under the law, should have been paid to the waiters and waitresses.   Instead, the money was funneled back to Per Se restaurant operations. Section 169(d) of New York Labor Law states that employers cannot keep “any part of the gratuities, received by an employee, or retain any part of a gratuity or of any charge purported to be a gratuity for an employee.”

Per Se called the violation an “unintentional oversight.” The restaurant stated: “Our employees were never short-changed and no monies intended for employees were withheld. The Attorney General’s office own findings state that the charge was used in part to pay Per Se’s workers their industry- leading wages- a waiter at Per Se, for example, including overtime and gratuities, makes approximately $116,000 a year.”

No-tip Restaurants Are Gaining Traction

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No-tipping policies at restaurants is a growing experiment across the country. Customers at Girard Brasserie in Philadelphia receive a note attached to their bills stating, “Tipping is not necessary.” Restaurant Riki, a Japanese style pub in New York City, has done away with tipping. Similarly, Manhattan restaurant Sushi Yasuda states on its menu that “serving staff are fully compensated by their salary… therefore gratuities are not accepted.” The no-tip movement has been embraced by high-end restaurants such a Per Se in New York, Chez Parisse in Berkley, California and Alinea, in Chicago. The future of tipping will be one of the topics of discussion at Have We Reached the Tipping Point for Tips?, a program sponsored by the New York City Hospitality Alliance on February 2, 2015.