Katie and Justin

Katie and Justin are among a group of former Applebee’s workers who filed charges this year with the U.S. Department of Labor to recover portions of their tips they say their employer withheld and unlawfully kept.

For years, the restaurant has required servers to contribute a percentage of their receipts each night toward a “tip pool” that is shared with the hosts and bartenders. After six years as a server, Katie realized last fall that when the hosts and bartenders were not working, the restaurant management had been keeping the money from the tip pool.

Federal law prohibits employers from keeping any portion of workers’ tips under any circumstances. In November 2014, the workers called on the store manager to meet with them to resolve this issue, but the manager refused to meet.

After the manager refused a second request to meet in December, the workers filed DOL charges in January 2015.