A catering staff member at the Trump Soho Hotel is suing Donald Trump for withholding tips, according a new lawsuit reported by DNAinfo. Staffer Deborah Garcia, who names Trump and his family in the suit, says a mandatory 22 percent service fee added to catering bills never made its way into staffer pockets. None of the menus or bills noted that the service fees were not for gratuity, meaning customers likely didn't realized they weren't tipping, Garcia claims. "A reasonable customer would believe that the service was in fact a gratuity for [Garcia] and similarly situated employees," the lawsuits says. She earned $15-per-hour with no tips.
It's not the first time a restaurant has had to pay up for charging a service fee without passing along the cash. In 2012, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused Per Se of illegally withholding money from a 20 percent service fee that it was charging for private events. The restaurant denied wrongdoing but ultimately paid $500,000 to employees in a settlement. Restaurants must denote that a service fee is not going toward tips if they don't plan on distributing it to servers.
Trump Soho says Garcia never worked directly for the hotel, instead working for a third-party contractor, and Koi Soho, a restaurant in the hotel that's also named in the suit, also said it never employed her, DNAinfo reports. Still, Garcia and her attorneys hope that the suit will receive class-action status, bringing in the 40 other employees who worked with her on the catering team.