If you’ve been paying attention to the news relating to wage and hour law (and really, who isn’t?), you may recently have heard quite a bit about new federal rules on tipped employees, and more recently Congress stepping in with new legislation. There has been a lot of rhetoric on all sides, though not always

There’s been plenty of press this week regarding the U.S. Department of Labor’s proposed rules governing employer treatment of tips. Commentators are debating whether the proposed changes are a sensible return to the four corners of the Fair Labor Standards Act or a cash-grab for the restaurant industry at the expense of workers. We’ll leave

Bobby Bare - Winner.JPGOne of the many songs written by Shel Silverstin became a hit for Bobby Bare back in 1976, and the title of Bare’s album that appears in the headline of this post. “The Winner” tells the story about a man who “won” every fight he had ever fought—with the broken bones, glass eye, arthritis, dislocated knees and more to show for it. Just as in the world of Shel Silverstein’s lyrics, being “The Winner” in a wage and hour lawsuit isn’t always that great.

Before the Labor Day holiday, I read on Twitter (by the way—are you following @WageHourInsight yet?) about the supposed “success” a restaurant had in defending its wage and hour practices at trial. I did a double-take. After reading the Southern District of New York’s opinion in Mendez v. International Food House, I would bet that, like the “Tiger Man McCool” in Shel’s hit song, the restaurant isn’t feeling much like “The Winner” now. Litigating a wage and hour case through trial is rarely going to be a victory by any definition after you consider the costs and time expended (even assuming you prevail).


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Shortly after my co-author, Bill Pokorny, wrote about celebrity and Iron Chef Mario Batali’s multi-million dollar settlement of a class action tip pooling lawsuit, another celebrity chef here in Chicago was sued for violating tip pooling laws.  In March 2012, a lawsuit was filed against Master Chef Graham Elliot by 14 former employees over tip