Chickie’s and Pete’s employee sues, claiming employees are getting stiffed

    A former Chickie’s and Pete’s bartender is suing the sports bar and restaurant for allegedly cutting workers short on tips.

    Filed last week in federal court, the suit (Laplante v. Wright Food Services) claims Chickie’s and Pete’s requires employees to pay 2 percent of the check, in cash, to the restaurant when a customer pays by credit card.

    “[Tips are] left for the servers, they should be kept by the servers,” said Louis Pechman, one of the lawyers for the plaintiff. “If an employer does dip into the tips, there are very serious ramifications.”

    The suit is against the Chickie’s and Pete’s at the Philadelphia International Airport. Neither side was willing to talk about specifics.

    Owner Pete Ciarrocchi issued a written statement saying, “Anybody who knows me knows that at Chickie’s and Pete’s we’ve always tried to do the right thing by our employees. We treat people fairly and with respect.”

    According to the complaint, if the restaurant collected the money and then used it to pay credit card fees, it violated the Philadelphia Gratuity Protection Bill.

    Further, the complaint said the restaurant may be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    That’s because they use the tip credit system. It allows restaurants to pay tipped employees (i.e., bartenders and waiters) below the $7.25 minimum wage in exchange for letting them keep all of the tips.

    There’s no dollar amount specified, but it includes the plaintiff, Andrew Laplante, current employees and employees from the past three years from that location — an estimated 100 people.

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