PHILADELPHIA – An 18-year veteran of the Aramark food service company has launched a putative class action lawsuit, claiming the brand violated Philadelphia’s Gratuity Protection Bill (GPB) by illegally and unfairly retaining tips left by patrons who paid by credit cards.
Shirley Slaughter of Philadelphia filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas on Oct. 17 versus Aramark Campus, LLC and Aramark Sports, LLC, both also of Philadelphia.
The defendants employ bartenders, cashiers, concession workers and servers who sell food and beverages to patrons in Philadelphia and have allegedly employed at least 50 individuals as food staff employees in the city since November 2011. The litigation states Slaughter herself was employed by Aramark as such an employee from 1998 until February 2016.
During her tenure with the company, patrons often paid tips on their credit cards to Slaughter and other food staff employees during certain public and private events held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, located in Center City, Philadelphia. However, the suit claims Aramark kept the tips that patrons paid on their credit cards to its employees, which is in direct contradiction of the tenets of the GPB.
The GPS states, in part, “Every gratuity shall be the sole property of the employee or employees to who it was paid, given or left for, and shall be paid over in full to such employee or employees” and “An employer that permits patrons to pay gratuities by credit card shall pay employees the full amount of the gratuity that the patron indicated on the credit card slip.”
Slaughter brought the lawsuit as a putative class action on behalf of herself and all individuals who, during any time since November 29, 2011 (the date the GPB became law), were employed by Aramark as bartenders, cashiers, concession workers or servers, and sold food/beverages to patrons in Philadelphia.
For alleged violation of the GPB, the plaintiffs are seeking an order permitting this action to proceed as a class action; reimbursement of all gratuities retained by defendants and all other actual damages; exemplary damages of $2,000 per class member; reasonable attorney’s fees, expenses and court costs; an award of pre-judgment and post-judgment interest; a reasonable incentive award for named plaintiff to compensate her for the time she spent attempting to recover wages for class members and for the risks she took in doing so, such other relief, including injunctive relief, as the Court may deem appropriate, plus a jury trial as to all claims so triable.
The plaintiffs are represented by Mark J. Gottesfeld, R. Andrew Santillo and Peter Winebrake of Winebrake & Santillo, in Dresher.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 171002194
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at email@example.com