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Former Busser At Mastro's Sues, Claiming Unpaid Tips

By Anthony Todd in Food on Oct 13, 2017 5:44PM

A steak at Mastro's. Photo via Facebook.

This popular steakhouse might be in for a little bit of legal difficulty. The Chicago location of Mastro's (part of the Mastro's chain, based in Arizona) was sued this week by a former employee who alleges that tips were not properly paid out.

The chain, which is no longer owned by the Mastro family (they sold it to Landry's in 2013, and now own Steak 48, which recently opened in Chicago), has more than 15 locations around the country.

The lawsuit, brought by Jose Murata, a former busser at Mastro's, alleges that the restaurant violated the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act by not distributing tips correctly. Generally, employees like bussers who are not tipped directly by customers receive a portion of the servers' tips, which are pooled and then divided up each day. The lawsuit alleges that Mastro's kept part of that pool, rather than distributing it.

Since the lawsuit was just filed, Mastro's hasn't responded yet—and let's be real, this could be dismissed in five minutes, as many of these type of unfair wage practices lawsuits are. But it remains a reminder to restaurant owners: Don't mess with tips, or you'll have to spend a bunch of cash on your lawyers.