Home Hotel management SF Hilton must pay hotel workers for missed tips, rules rules

SF Hilton must pay hotel workers for missed tips, rules rules


Hundreds of waiters, bartenders and other dining room workers who have worked at the San Francisco Hilton at some point since 2010 can sue “service charges” of more than 20% at banquets and events. dinners that the hotel partly keeps for itself rather than paying employees. as advice, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

US District Judge Jeffrey White of Oakland has not decided whether Hilton has violated workers’ rights, a question to be determined when the case goes to trial. But he said the claims in the lawsuit had enough commonality and applied to enough workers to meet the legal standards of a class action lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed in 2014, but the class will include service workers from January 2010. In 2017, when a federal appeals court reinstated the lawsuit after White had already dismissed it, there was at least 399 workers affected by the hotel’s policy, the judge said on Monday.

The decision was “a long-awaited victory,” said Shannon Liss-Riordan, a labor lawyer. She said similar class actions were underway against other San Francisco establishments.

Lawyers for the Hilton hotel were not immediately available for comment. In court records, they had argued that the terms of the service charge varied from occasion to occasion, but that customers were generally aware that the 20% addition was necessary “to cover incidentals and costs. administrative costs of the hotel ”.

However, a state appeals court ruled in another San Francisco case in 2019 that, based on the evidence, hotel service charges were “viewed by the guest as a tip” or tip, which, under California law, must be fully paid to service employees. And the U.S. Court of Appeals in the 2017 Hilton case said these issues must be decided according to state law.

According to the Hilton lawsuit, hotel management keeps part of the service charge for itself, then distributes 25% of the remaining funds to management staff and the rest to service workers.

While the hotel said it does not have a consistent revenue-sharing practice and sometimes negotiates deals with large banquet planners, White said workers have provided proof that Hilton has ” a common practice of (…) not paying service employees the full amount., “and that” a reasonable customer would understand that this is a tip. “

Bob Egelko is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected]