Minnesota Supreme Court ruling is big victory for servers at bars and restaurants

Tips are property of servers, not their employers, the court ruled.
Tips are property of servers, not their employers, the court ruled.

With no downwardly adjusted minimum wage for tipped employees, Minnesota was already a very good place for servers. But it's even a little bit better following yesterday's Supreme Court ruling.

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The court ruled bars and restaurants cannot force employees to dip into their tips to compensate for shortages in the till created when customers walk out on a tab or don't sign their credit card receipt. The suit was originally brought in 2010 by a group of more than 750 Drink and Spin nightclub employees who said using tips to make up for till shortfalls was standard practice at their now-failed places of employment.

"This ruling deals with a practice that is sort of the dirty little secret of Twin Cities bars and restaurants -- where if the till's short, you've gotta pay if you want to keep your job," Steven Andrew Smith, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit, told the Star Tribune. "It sends the message that you can't do that."

Hennepin County District Court will now determine how much the aggrieved servers should be compensated. A jury who ruled on the case before it was appealed to the Supreme Court awarded $70,000 in damages to the plaintiffs, the Strib reports.

Somewhere, Tom Emmer weeps.

-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at

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