or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › what would you do? getting ripped off!
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

what would you do? getting ripped off!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
don't know if this is the right forum..it says employee issues under the heading...i have posted this thread on another food website in the summer and got the kind of responses that i thought i would get, but i would like to get your opinions as you're the pros..i thought i could just let this go, but it seems that the more i think about it, the more i think something must be done to stop these lowlife snakes..so now that my violin is tuned, here goes...(i must admit i am somewhat embarrased by the whole thing)...last year i was cooking at a high end guest ranch(as in dude), in southern arizona. iwas really only making minimum wage, actually less if you broke it down hourly, but it was an easy way to escape the rocky mountain winter..i accepted the position because part of the wage package was part of the gratuity (16.5%) left by the guests..this woud have added up to about $5,000 including my husbands share. i worked my butt off for these people and for the guests and thoroughly enjoyed doing so..the guest were over the moon about the food and always asked my husband(office manager) and the owner if part of the gratuity went to the chefs..answer was always yes, of course..several months after we left in the spring we called to find out when to expect the gratuity check...we were then told to 'read our contract'! that we were not entitled to any such gratuity..they did not make enough money..these were high end rooms $500 to $700 a night...they told other employees the same thing, so they have pocketed the gratuities..in my mind, that is stealing! they are lawyers,so they think everyone is itimidated by them...obviously, the contract was written to their advantage, but we shook hands and verbally agreed to the wage plus gratuity deal. i have emailed the dude ranch association, the agency that the owners get most of their naive employees and the owners themselves..seems like a brick wall whever we turn...so,outside of sticking pins in a voodoo doll, what would you do? i think there must be something to stop these snakes, but what..they do hire illegals to do the lions share of the work on the ranch.i would love to drop a dime to the ins just about holiday time, but because i became friends with the mexicans, i don't want to see them in jail...any ideas? know any lawyers? i saw alot of illegal goings on while i was there..can i report them? as i said before, i am somewhat embarassed by the whole ordeal, but i am more angry then embarassed! i'll appreciate your opionions, even if i don't want to hear them...what was it warren zevon said..bring lawyers, guns and money! thanks all
joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply
post #2 of 17
Why did you not ask for your share of the tips on a weekly basis? The ranch was paid weekly, if not daily by their customers.

Tips should never go to owners of a resort type operation, period.

If their guests knew this, I bet they would be outraged. I know I would be.

Cat Man
post #3 of 17
Well, I think your out of luck Joey.....you have to be picky when it comes to
who you work for.....as for retribution.....it will only effect "the Mexicans".
The individuals which may or may not be illegal, by the way, I could care less
whether they were or were not, will only be effected in an adverse way. Basically there is really no such thing as a good deal....many resorts and ranches have a service charge and consider themselves tipless or cashless for the convenience of the client or guest. It it wasn't in the contract, then, it falls under the guise of payroll recovery, which, is legal. You could try suing them, but, you would just be clogging the legal system up for others that need it more. Please, don't turn them in for anything...you'll just get a bunch of hardworking migrant workers in trouble and possibly put their lives and lives of there families at risk.......good luck and don't pick up any more
wooden nickols.....
post #4 of 17
You can sue them in small claims court (witnesses will help), you can report them to the Better Business Bureau, you can call the Feds about the illegals and you can file a complaint re. unethical business practices with the Bar Association of whatever state they are licensed to practice law in.
post #5 of 17
Find an attorney that specializes in employment and labor law, and get his opinion of your position.

Don't get hung up on the owners being attorneys; and let your attorney discover it on his own...... after he accepts the case.
post #6 of 17
I am not a lawyer, but if you signed a contract... well, there's your answer. Live and learn, I suppose. Although, the voodooo doll might not be a bad route to take. Good luck to you.

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply

Invention, my dear friends, is ninety-three percent perspiration, six percent electricity, four percent evaporation, and two percent butterscotch ripple

My Author Page

Reply
post #7 of 17
As with most lawsuits there really is only one party that benefits and it ain't gonna be you. Anyway, it'll probably cost ya 6,000 to recover the 5,000. :eek:
In my more youthful _ _ ss and vinegar days I tried the forceful approach a couple times to reclaim things lost. Just a bad experience all together and it throws you name in the trash. Not worth it in the end. Best thing would be use the experience as a "life lesson" and grow from it. Like evenstephen said watch out for those wooden nickles and I do like Jim's approach with the voodoo doll.:roll:
post #8 of 17
This seems like a sensible avenue to pursue.
Just my opinion though....
post #9 of 17
if you go small claims court you could end up on court TV or the peoples court.

thats were they get htere cases from,

my bro was on the people court
post #10 of 17
Unfortunately most legal avenues will just end up costing you money. The lawyers are the only ones who win in most cases. Even if you get a judgment against these people in the small claims court, your chances of getting your money are remote.

If it were me I would seethe and be very annoyed but put it down to experience and move on. Make sure you get everything in writing in the future. There is no such thing as a gentlemans agreement when it comes to money.
Jenyfari from Only Cookware and Only Cookware Blog - A Consumer Guide to Cookware
Reply
Jenyfari from Only Cookware and Only Cookware Blog - A Consumer Guide to Cookware
Reply
post #11 of 17
Like most of the others, I'd say chalk it up to experience and move on.

Court means law and law means lawyers and lawyers mean money--your money, up front. Even if you do get a court date within 6-12 mths, and you do win the case, there's no guaranteee that you'll get any money. Smaller courts don't have any teeth--they can't grab hold of an employer's bank account and award damges, and also the employer could have sold the business, gone bankrupt, or moved all of thier money "offshore".


You got paid your salary though, right? If that wasn't the case you could go to the State Labour board, those guys have teeth, they can walz in to banks and award money to complaintants.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 

what would you do?

thank you all for your opinions and input..it was nothing new, but it was welcomed..i am way too old to be in people's court, and yes in the end i will chalk it up under a learning experience..i won't take them to court, because as you all point out, the gain is not worth the pain..i will however contact the wage and labor board in arizona as they view bonuses as part of the whole wage package...what they did really was illegal...and i will report them to the irs and the bbb.. i won't drop a dime to the ins as that would not accomplish anything except to get the mexicans jail time. i will contact the agencies i mentioned just to go on record as to their unethical business practices..it may not do a thing, but i will have made my little voice heard instead of just scream! i heard that the owner fell and broke her kneecap and was wondering who put the hex on her...guess the voodoo doll worked!!! gotta love karma..its not usual that we can be around to actually witness it. thanks again all for taking the time...
joey

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

Reply
post #13 of 17

Call in an air strike

I would go ahead and get the INS involved. You are taking care of yourself. They will never know the source of the complaint. They lose money, its the price of screwing with you!
Any other illegal activity, alert the authorities.
Let the system work and take a pound of flesh from those bozos.
Sign them up for viagra via the internet and every other pain in the buns you can come up with, magazine subscriptions, gay rights, send them a set of books on goat husbandry etc.all anonomous...exterminators, ...
Call in an air strike...
Make yourself the worst burr in thier saddles ever conceived. Call in a large smallware order, large canned goods order and a favor and have someone stay there and be the nightmare customer from Hades.
Put an ad in the local paper pointing out the practice they employ and/or solicit visitors from the ranch during that certain time frame, responding to a P.O. Box regarding possible exposure to the Bubonic Plague during thier stay.
Get the civil liberties union involved, say the employer discrimnated against you and did not live up to the contract because you are a women, sick those pencil pushers on them.
Buy a couple crates of live termites from a research facility and drop them off at the ranch and watch the thing crumble to the ground.
Stash some fresh fish in places they would never find and let them rot there creating such a stench that people run the other direction.
If you cant get your money, cause enough havoc to offset that loss.
Righteous indignation with teeth!!!
post #14 of 17
In other words revenge... Not a good idea. You let that anger build up in you and let it ferment. Well it isn't good for you, your body, or those around you.

Now, how would a small business owner like me who had to take several slime ball clients and landlords to small claims court know about this?

Those owners are lawyers, waay past redemption, or even worth thinking about ways to irritate them. Being lawyers and not hospitality workers, they'll probably flip the business before the year is out.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
post #15 of 17
I would file a claim with the state labor commission.
Costs you nothing.
If you feel that you have the evidence to back up your claim, you will not need an attorney.
It isn't a court.
You will want records of hours worked, your paystubs should suffice for this.
The verbal agreement will be hard to prove though.

Don't worry about "your name being ruined".
I have had successful labor cases against former employers and it hasn't hurt me a bit, and I live in a small area.
If your work is good, you will get a job.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Reply
post #16 of 17
if the "tip" is refferd to as a "service charge", management can pocket every penny.

If it is reffered to as a "gratuity" or "tip", or management provably mis-represents a "service charge" to the customer as a gratuity, the management is in violation of federal wage and hour laws.

Management is not entitled to tip themselves or the company out.
By changing the term to "service charge" they skate right past the law. This is one of the mighty injustices in the hospitality business.

Contact your local office of the United States Dept of labor.
post #17 of 17
The first few lines have merit. The rest is illegal and will get you in deep trouble with the law besides showing poor character and no class.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Professional Chefs
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Professional Food Service › Professional Chefs › what would you do? getting ripped off!