Concession workers at Yankee Stadium have sued the team, claiming they are being cheated out of the tips automatically added to their bills. Thirty two current and former waiters in the Yankee Stadium’s exclusive box seats have filed a lawsuit demanding their share of the team’s concession profits.
New York Yankees Partnership and Legends Hospitality LLC (“Legends”) was formed by the team in 2009 to operate the concessions at the new Stadium. Legends is owned by the Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys, and Goldman Sachs, and reportedly generates approximately $25 million annually. According to the complaint, Legends kept between $500,000 and $1 million that was marked as gratuity on patron’s bills.
From 2009-2011, the menu stated that a 20 percent “service charge” would be added to the bill, and that “additional gratuity is at your discretion.” Plaintiffs assert that this language would leave patrons to believe that the 20 percent fee was a tip for the service workers. However, the waiters allege that Legends kept the 20 percent fee.
The servers earn a flat rate of $35 per game, plus commission on their sales. Brian Schaffer, an attorney for the service workers has stated: “The Yankees are making so much money. Why would they do this to hardworking kids? It’s corporate greed at its worst. The money that we’re talking about is peanuts to the Yankees.”
In 2012, Yankee Stadium dropped the mandatory gratuity from the menu.