Waldorf-Astoria waiters sue Hilton for lost tips

Thu Feb 25, 2010 5:36pm EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nine banquet waiters at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel on Park Avenue in Manhattan have sued the famous property and its owner Hilton Worldwide Inc, alleging that they were stiffed on tips.

According to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Manhattan federal court, customers were led to believe that a 21.5 percent gratuity added to their food and drink bills would go entirely to service staff.

In fact, the lawsuit said only 15 percent went to the staff while the other 6.5 percent went to the hotel. The complaint said this violated New York state labor law.

Hilton did not immediately return a call seeking comment. The company is owned by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP.

It is unclear how much in damages is being sought, but the lawsuit said the amount at issue "exceeds the sum or value of $5 million." The lawsuit seeks class-action status, payment of wages and gratuities required by law, and other remedies.

The case is Colon et al. v. Hilton Worldwide Inc, District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-01575.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)