High court says club workers can’t stop management from getting tokes
The Nevada Supreme Court has ruled that bartenders, food servers and other tip workers can’t stop management from getting a split of the money.
The suit was filed by a group of 16 employees at the Reno Hilton who complained that managers unfairly took part of the tip money received from banquet and catered events.
The Hilton workers argued it is a violation of the longtime understanding – in effect an oral contract – between tip workers and management that the food servers and bartenders who provide the service split the tips in equal portions.
Hilton officials, however, argued they have the power and the right to change that deal and include managers at those events in the split.
The high court, in a panel opinion signed by Justices Cliff Young, Deborah Agosti and Myron Leavitt, agreed.
“We conclude that the Hilton could unilaterally change the agreements,” the opinion says. “The Hilton’s employee handbook does not contain any provision indicating that gratuities would be divided evenly between food servers and bartenders.”
D. Taylor of the Culinary Workers Union said his organization is in first-time contract negotiations with the Reno Hilton.
“I’m sure we will resolve the entire question of gratuities in banquets in the coming months,” he said.
Taylor said the issue has come up in a number of different banquet departments and that for workers, “the only way to have a definitive say is with a contract.
“We’re optimistic we can work out,” he said. “We never count on the court system to bring justice to the worker.”
But Taylor said negotiations at the Reno Hilton and Flamingo Hilton in Reno won’t help other workers in the area.
“Unfortunately, this ruling will be applied to every banquet worker and if you don’t have a contract, you don’t have a say,” he said.