Before law school I waited tables for a bit. One time a group of customers at one of my tables left without paying their $30 (give or take) bill. My manager threatened to make me pay for it. I don’t remember whether he actually followed through with the threat – but if he had, and assuming New York law applied (the restaurant was in New Jersey), he would have been breaking the law.
Below and here is the federal complaint filed by Suzanne Parratt against her employer, the Pig N’ Whistle located in Times Square, for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.
Plaintiff claims that she did not receive wages for work during her three-day training period and that the defendants required plaintiff and her co-workers to pay tips back to defendants for losses incurred by defendants.
She cites one example where, after being stiffed on a $96.00 bill, a manager told her that she would have to pay the customer’s tab out of her tips. After plaintiff refused to pay the unpaid bill, defendants fired her.