The server says she was forced to pay after the customer’s card was declined

A restaurant server on TikTok has sparked a controversy after claiming she was forced to pay part of a customer’s bill after her card was declined and they left.

In a video with over 633,000 views, TikTok user Audrey (@meow.ak47) explains the situation.

“A large [fuck] She to the people who were walking $300 worth of food and alcohol and the card was declined and I had to pay part of their bill since I was your server,” she writes in the text overlaid on the video. “Not only did I lose $55 in tips, I lost $70 of my own money because of you guys.”

“Treat your servers better and don’t order what you can’t afford,” she concludes.

@meow.ak47 many thanks to these a$$holes. I hope karma is good for you. #serverlife #server #serverproblems #servertiktok ♬ I’m trying not to km.. – h

In the comments, many users claimed that it was against the law to even partially pay a customer’s bill.

“It’s against the law to make servers pay for declined cards or strikes,” wrote one user.

“Hopefully the manager gets fired because it’s illegal to skim payments,” said a second.

“Depending on which state you live in, you can sue the restaurant for this,” claimed a third party.

So what is the legal truth of the situation? According to Slate, the situation is a bit complicated.

“At the federal level, this type of wage deduction is not totally prohibited by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the law that sets minimum wages and other employment standards,” writes author Luke O’Neil. “The FLSA generally prevents employers from accepting tips from waiters and prohibits wage deductions for strikes when an employer claims the maximum tip credit or when such deductions bring an employee’s net income below minimum wage.”

In short, if the employer takes a tip loan that allows them to pay below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, federal deductions are usually illegal only if it takes a server’s hourly wage below $7.25.

However, numerous states have laws on the books that prevent employers from doing this. O’Neil writes that such laws exist in Massachusetts, New York and California.

Audrey later released a follow-up video to explain her situation.

@meow.ak47 in reply to @selfdefenestration ♬ Original sound – audrey

In this video, Audrey says she just moved to a new state and is unfamiliar with labor laws. She also says she likes her job, the people she works with and is happy with the money she makes. She also says she has no intention of quitting the job as a result of this incident.

“I can’t afford to just quit my job without a new one coming up,” she explains. “I literally can’t afford that right now.”

She also said she plans to speak to her manager about the situation.

Regardless of the legality of the situation, many users in the comments section pointed out that it is important for workers to know their rights in the workplace.

“You look young and I know it can be difficult, but it’s important to know your labor rights and speak up for yourself,” one commenter shared.

The Daily Dot contacted Audrey via Instagram direct message.


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*Initial publication: January 26, 2023 9:49 am CST

Braden Bjella

Braden Bjella is a culture writer. His work can be found in Mixmag, Electronic Beats, Schön! magazine and more.

Braden Bjella The server says she was forced to pay after the customer’s card was declined

Jaclyn Diaz

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