Restaurants Can Not Charge Servers For Dine And Dash

The article I am about to share with you is not written by a Third Coast writer nor is it in a Third Coast publication or about the Third Coast.  It does, however address, a situation that has been on the rise along the Third Coast since Hurricane Katrina hit.  Dine and Dash or dine and ditch or chew and screw or running the check means ducking out without paying for the bill and it is at epodemic levels right now.  The people that do this know that it is theft.  They do not care; they are at peace with being a thief.  However, to combat this many restaurants are charging the server for the price of the meal.  Doesn't sound fair does it?  Well, as you will soon learn it not only isn't fair, it isn't legal.  So all of you servers and bartenders, pay attention.

This is from Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz and author of Life Happens: And Other Unavoidable Truths. It was published December 15, 2009.  Read and learn.

    The costs of getting stiffed shouldn't be the server's to pay.
    The first time I heard a waitress was forced to foot the bill when a customer skipped out, I thought surely this was the policy of a rogue manager. That was in early August. After four months of interviews with servers and managers at dozens of restaurants here and around the country, I now know otherwise. A growing number of restaurant patrons are eating meals and ducking out before paying. That's illegal. Waiters and waitresses assigned to their tables are getting stuck with the tab. That's illegal, too. As a U.S. Labor Department spokesperson put it in an e-mail response to my questions: "It is a violation for employers to improperly require tipped employees to pay for customers who walk out without paying their bills or for incorrectly totaled bills." I will not name any particular restaurant because my research indicates so many are violating federal law by requiring their servers to cover customers' unpaid bills. It strikes me as unfair to single out one. I will, however, give my list to the Labor Department.

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