Everyone’s go-to wings joint for late night cravings and away football game watch parties is in the midst of a spicy situation. Only, the mess being made is a class action law suit, not smeared Red Alert sauce.
Wings Over Happy Valley denied on Friday, July 21 the claims made by former drivers Jacob Wilson, Ty Carts, Lewis Grove, Colin Krieger, and Branden Ronald that the popular restaurant wrongfully required them to share their tips with the kitchen staff in a tipping pool. The attorney representing Wings Over and owner Steven C. Moreira wrote in a filing to the U.S. Middle District Court that the delivery drivers were never obligated to share their tips with kitchen workers.
The four former employees first filed a law suit in May in pursuit of recovering the wages lost in the allegedly required and illegal tipping pool. Pennsylvania law allows companies to pay tipped employees less than minimum wage if they are able to retain their tips. The stipulation then is that employees may share their tips with other regularly tipped employees in a pool of money.
The plaintiffs in the case are arguing that Wings Over forced them to share 8% of their tips with kitchen employees, who normally don’t receive tips, as a way to circumvent paying them accordingly.
In the filing on behalf of Wings Over and Moreira, the attorney wrote that all tips sharing was “entirely voluntary,” that the kitchen workers had their own tip jar, and that they as well as Carts, Grove, Krieger, and Ronald, had all been paid more than the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
This legal case is especially unique for State College, where OrderUp controls a decent share of the delivery food market. An early lesson learned by students is that ordering directly from Wings Over is a cheaper alternative to using the popular app that originated in State College and that tacks on processing fees.
Because OrderUp drivers simply pick up and deliver the food, other restaurants don’t have tipped drivers to share tips with kitchen workers, resulting in a much simpler payment system. Alternatively, Wings Over employs its own drivers and does a good amount of its business through direct orders delivered by them.