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Gratuitous Behavior

Here's a tip for restaurateurs: Before you cut into your waitstaff's wages, check state regulations.

And such a case isn't likely to crop up anytime soon. "That just wouldn't make any sense," says the CRA's Meersman. "I think that as this gets more attention and restaurants realize that some of the rules have changed or are being more closely paid attention to, then this might make the difference in where an employee decides to work. And since I don't know of any restaurant in this state right now that is fully staffed, this could have an impact. Why would anyone work somewhere that they lose part of their tips for credit cards or for busboys when there's so much work available out there?"

There may be work out there, but Gary Rymer isn't interested. "Since the Department of Labor can't pursue all the restaurants that could break this regulation," he says, "then it seems to me it's a matter of, 'I own the business, and I can do whatever I want.' It must be nice to grab some extra cash for yourself off someone else's work."

But it won't be Rymer's work. He's gotten out of the restaurant business altogether--in favor of a field where the money lies not in breaking the rules, but in interpreting them. He recently earned his paralegal associate's degree.

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