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July 26, 2017

Philly's acclaimed Israeli restaurant Zahav settles class-action suit

Server challenges pooling of tips with back-of-house staff

Restaurants Lawsuits
021016_Zahav Contributed Art /Facebook


Philadelphia's powerhouse Israeli restaurant Zahav, the jewel of Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov's CookNSolo family, has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit filed by a former server who challenged the restaurant's pooling of tips. 

Zahav will to pay a total of $230,000 to 41 current and former employees of the Old City restaurant, according to court documents obtained by the Associated Press. 

The lawsuit was filed over the restaurant's requirement that the server give $5 in gratuities she earned per shift to an employee who polished silverware. Lawyers backing the server argued polishers are not entitled to tips because they do not have any contact with customers. 

Servers represented in the lawsuit contended that the restaurant was in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act, and Philadelphia’s Gratuity Protection Bill. The latter does allow for restaurants to require pooling tips, but only among employees who directly provide service to patrons. 

Under the agreement reached last month, the owners of the restaurant admit no wrongdoing or liability. The settlement remains subject to a judge's approval.