US appeals court rules for bartenders, waiters in tip fight

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A U.S. appeals court is siding with bartenders and waiters in a fight over whether restaurants can pay them less because they receive tips.

Under federal law, an employer can pay workers who receive tips as little as $2.13 an hour as long as their tips bring their earnings to minimum wage.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday said employers cannot use that tip credit when the workers are engaged in tasks that don’t offer tips such as cleaning toilets and that are not related to bartending or serving.

The ruling revived a lawsuit by 14 bartenders and servers accusing restaurant chains including P.F. Chang’s China Bistro and J. Alexander’s of failing to pay minimum wage.

Emails to attorneys for the two restaurant chains were not immediately returned.

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