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Update: Former server suing Gusano's for tips

Posted: February 6, 2014 - 7:38pm

A former Conway Gusano’s server has filed a class action lawsuit against the bar and restaurant company for unlawful pay practices. 

Jacqueline L. Conners, of Conway, says in the suit filed at U.S. District Court in January she entered a tip-pooling agreement with servers and other restaurant staff that did not satisfy the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Conners says the agreement was a condition of employment and shared her tips with employees who would not typically receive them, such as the kitchen’s cooks. 

According to the collective action complaint, “Because Gusano’s did not operate a valid tip pool, it was required to pay Conners and its other servers at least $7.25 per hour.”

Conners’ suit states Gusano’s paid her $2.75 per hour, as the restaurant takes advantage of a FLSA provision that allows her to be paid below minimum wage if she is also paid in tips. 

Conners’ employment was terminated, according to the suit, and she seeks damages in an amount equal to the unpaid back wages and a return of all tips owed. 

Other “similarly-situated” individuals employed within the past three years may join the suit to seek “a return of all tips owed them from a period from three (3) years prior to this lawsuit through the date of trial;.”

The suit also seeks attorney’s fees.

Also joining the suit, according to court documents, are Whitney Koch, Katey Tiller, Rachelle Hobbs and Maria Campanelli. 

Conners told media in November she was fired from Gusano’s for reporting to police that a patron at the restaurant was drinking while breasfeeding. 

Conners confirmed her statement Friday. 

The woman was arrested, according to a Nov. 21 Conway Police Department incident report, and reported to the child abuse hotline. 

The lawsuit does not state the reason Conners’ employment was terminated.

The general manager at the Conway location, who identified herself by two different names, said Friday she could not comment on the lawsuit. 

A message left for comment at Gusano’s corporate office in Rogers was not returned by press time Friday.

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lachowsj
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lachowsj 02/07/14 - 08:58 am
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Good luck

If the facts are as stated, Ms. Conners and her co-workers are entitled to back pay and damages. Businesses should not be allowed to skirt the already weak minimum wage laws in Arkansas.

ARBEAR
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ARBEAR 02/07/14 - 10:43 am
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I hope the servers win.

I hope the servers win.

mikeng1994
11448
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mikeng1994 02/07/14 - 01:12 pm
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Nice save on the edit ARBEAR.

Nice save on the edit ARBEAR. But there those of us who know!!!

ARBEAR
1320
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ARBEAR 02/07/14 - 09:16 am
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My Tab's tree tax and e-cigarettes rant

I ate at Gusano's this weekend,and saw several patrons sucking on their e-cigarettes. I wonder what other restaurants around Conway allow this annoying habit.

Also when Tab's Christmas tree tax was added to the already too high sales tax rate, I paid 12% tax for my pizza and drinks. Add 18% tip. My pizza night out went from $23.00 to $32.00. That's 30% for taxes and tip.

mikeng1994
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mikeng1994 02/07/14 - 10:32 am
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Wait a minute here

How is it you must suffer the chastising of a LCD double post, yet the thumbs up/down don't add up. Did someone like your first post and then dislike the other, or did one dislike change their mind? As if the chastising isn't enough, you are loosing out on coveted LCD points.
I sir, shall give you 2 thumbs up

conwaygerl
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conwaygerl 02/07/14 - 09:52 am
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Interesting

I think the suit has merit, but I don't see how she can ask for tips and a higher wage, I think one or the other is appropriate.

I'm guessing the IRS will get pulled into this too, to see how much tips Gusanos has claimed she has earned.

InsGuru
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InsGuru 02/07/14 - 12:04 pm
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starts a chant

*AUDIT AUDIT AUDIT AUDIT*

Why waste her time and energy for what'd I'd guess is probably, at max, couple hundered bucks, only to have the IRS possibly turn around, audit your own taxes, realize you WAAAAY under claimed any tips you did get (cause lets be honest, we all know every server does this when they get a cash tip) and say hey, you didn't pay enough taxes, gimme gimme. Or possibly have a judge not cover attorney costs?

"I think the suit has merit, but I don't see how she can ask for tips and a higher wage, I think one or the other is appropriate."

Yeah I agree, one or the other.

There once was a man who was entitled to a .05 cent discount on his gas at a station operated by a grocery store for earning enough points. The man bought his groceries, drove across the parking lot, went to get gas, and realized he wasn't getting his discount. So he hung the pump up, went back to the grocery store, and inquired. The manager told him to try a different discount card, which he then provided. The man went back to the pump, still no discount. He returned to the manager who said he would go with the gentleman. After thinking a moment, the man realized he'd just wasted 20 minutes to save .75 cents.

odoketa
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odoketa 02/07/14 - 11:23 am
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she's not

She's saying they didn't follow the rules, which require either tips, or that the restaurant pay the full minimum wage ($7.25, apparently). Since they didn't follow either of those two options (according to the people suing) they suffered damages and can legally demand restitution.

InsGuru
5314
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InsGuru 02/07/14 - 12:05 pm
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ummm

Umm I don't think anyone's disputing that....

alipage72
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alipage72 02/07/14 - 11:34 am
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Crappy system

I worked as a server at a less than popular restaurant, (slow each an every night)and we had to tip the host. As a single mom, that was the worst job I have ever had. To have end of night tips totaling maybe $30 only to have to give some of that away to someone who makes minimum wage is not fair. When you get a two week paycheck that is never over $12 it's impossible to live. If servers have to hand out tips, then those people should get paid $2.35 an hour as well. After all is said and done, those people making minimum wage and taking a portion of tips from each server end up going home with more tips than the servers that money was meant for. That's quite a haul and a serious disservice to those only paid $2.35 an hour.

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