MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A federal lawsuit filed by three servers against a popular Myrtle Beach restaurant alleging improper procedures that deal with tips is expected to go to trial in the first half of 2018, according to the attorney representing the eatery's owners.
In the lawsuit against Captain George's seafood restaurant, an amended version of which was filed Aug. 17, the three servers alleged, among other things, that servers were required to give a percentage of their tips each night to the "house," or the restaurant itself, court documents state.
"As a result, defendants are regularly paid more by their servers in misappropriated tips than defendants pay to servers in wages," the lawsuit states.
Additionally, the plaintiffs allege servers had to share their tips with other non-tipped employees, such as bussers; were required to work off the clock or were paid an incorrect overtime rate after working over 40 hours a week; had to spend more than 20 percent of their time completing non-tipped side work; and had "impermissible deductions" taken from their wages for things like uniforms and customer walkouts.
A fourth plaintiff, who is listed as having worked as a server at Captain George's Williamsburg location, is also involved in the lawsuit. They are seeking "monetary, declaratory and equitable relief based on defendants' willful failure to compensate."
In July, the case was transferred to the U.S. District Court's eastern district of Virginia.
Virginia-based attorney Alan Albert, who represents the defendants, said there was no factual basis for the allegations.
Albert said the situation was "disappointing" because the restaurant's owners never knew there were concerns about their practices until they were served the lawsuit.
"This is a situation where you sue first and discuss later," Albert said.
He added it is common practice in the restaurant industry for servers to give a portion of their tips to bussers and other staff who assist them.
Read the complete amended lawsuit below: