Aspen: Dont tip me, airport workers say
ASPEN, Colorado Employees at Aspens airport cafe are now telling customers not to leave tips because they say they arent getting them.According to employees of the Aspen Bar & Grille, their employer, News & Gift Shops International the Texas-based company that runs the cafe hasnt been paying out the credit card tips for at least three months and, possibly, since October. They have been promising and promising, but at this point we dont believe them, said a cafe employee who asked to remain anonymous. Whats funny or not so funny is our new management, News & Gift Shop International, trains us to separate the tips from the gross receipts and then to put the tips in an envelope at the end of every night, but as far as we are concerned, that envelope is a black hole because those tips we never see again.Jeff Sailor, president of operations with News and Gift Shop International, said the company is withholding tips only until it finishes reviewing its tax responsibilities with its employees.”Our employees in Aspen are wonderful people who, please keep in mind, earn quite a bit more than the minimum wage, and we are working to resolve this situation soon, he said.Other people in the restaurant business, however, dont agree with the idea that an employer can withhold tips because they have to report taxes on them.Taxes from tips are taken out from regular wages, said Mike Heller, an assistant manager a well-established steak restaurant in Aspen. Everybody knows credit cards tips are cash and belong to the employees. Withholding them for more than a paycheck cycle is unusual, and three months is beyond negligent.Heller said at the end of every shift a manager figures gross food and beverage sales receipts, total charges receipts, and total cash and charge tips. The outcome of this process is that our employees take their tips home that same night, he said.According to the states Department of Labor and Employment, if an establishment pays a minimum wage or higher it can choose to keep its employees tips just as long as it posts a sign noting that fact to its customers. But the Fair Labor Standards Act says credit card tips must be paid to the employee by the next regular pay day.Im disappointed to find out my tips have not been paid out, said Phyllis Savage, a longtime Aspen resident. I fly from Aspen airport to San Francisco every other week and I know most of the staff here by name. I feel taken advantage of.In the meantime, at the Aspen airport, the Aspen Bar and Grille has stopped offering its customers the option to leave a tip on its credit card receipts.
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