Tip theft at Pizzicato and McMenamins


A Portland-area pizza chain agreed to pay 367 employees a total of $540,000 after the U.S. Department of Labor found that managers were unlawfully receiving a share of tips given to workers. Pizzicato also agreed to fines of about $30,000 for employing an underage delivery driver.

Pizzicato runs 11 pizza restaurants in Portland, Beaverton, and Lake Oswego. On January 30, U.S. Secretary of Labor Julie Su filed a complaint against the company in federal district court  for violating federal labor laws by forcing workers to split their tips with managers. Su runs the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), a job that includes enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act. Under that act, managers are prohibited from keeping any portion of a worker’s tips. The act also requires employers to keep records of tips, which Su said Pizzicato was not doing.

Su also learned that one of the delivery drivers at the Murray Hills location in Beaverton was 17 years old, even though federal child labor laws say a worker must be at least 18 if their job requires them to drive.

Su asked a judge to make Pizzicato pay back workers for their lost tips and any related damages and to fine the company for violating child labor laws. Pizzicato managers did not respond to a request for an interview, but court records show the company agreed to a voluntary settlement of the charges. Willamette Week reported that the company also raised wages for managers and stopped splitting tips with them.

The DOL in late January also sent a letter to employees of McMenamins alleging that the restaurant chain similarly violated labor laws by giving managers part of workers’ tips, Willamette Week reported. However, the DOL cannot enforce a fine without going through the courts, and no suit was filed when this issue went to press.      


  1. I worked for these people once and find it hilarious they have attempted to garner public sympathy by talking about how it will come out of their pocket. The Frankels always seemed like out of touch wealthy people who cared way more about their bottom line than anything else. When they fired me the day before my vacation started without telling me why I had to get out my employee handbook and explain they had to pay me for my vacation as it was approved it writing more than 30 days prior, according to their own policy. I got the check, and the short argument i heard them have about it from down the hall was a nice bonus.


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