Waiters Don't Have to Pool Tips, Says Court

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The ruling could add incentive for restaurants to jump on the service-included bandwagon.

If you'd like to give your compliments to the chef monetarily, you should head into the kitchen after your meal. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has just upheld a 2011 U.S. Department of Labor rule that prevents restaurants from compelling workers to pool their tips and share with back-of-house staff, reports the Los Angeles Times. The ruling affects businesses in California, Alaska, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

The restaurant industry is currently trying to answer some tough questions, like how to provide benefits and address pay disparities between cooks and waiters. New York restaurateur Danny Meyer is in the process of converting his restaurants to no-tipping zones, and the industry is watching to see his results. In Los Angeles, an initiative drove more than a dozen fine dining establishments to enact a 3 percent surcharge to cover health insurance costs for their waitstaffs, cooks and dishwashers. Clearly, tipping might be on its way out—though there's some evidence that diners aren't quite ready for that.

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