Catch a Wave by Blue Nami Server Tip Consolidating $150,000 Class Action Settlement


Blue Nami’s Catch a Wave has agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve claims that it forced its servers to improperly bundle their tips.

The settlement benefits individuals who were employed by Catch a Wave by Blue Nami Inc. as a server in California between September 18, 2011 and February 9, 2020.

Catch a Wave is a restaurant in Blue Nami, a sushi restaurant in California.

Catch a Wave was criticized by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) in January 2021 when the regulator suspended his ability to sell alcohol for 45 days. It involved two employees selling alcohol to a minor who later died.

Catch a Wave didn’t just come under pressure from liquor authorities.

In September 2015, a waiter at the restaurant filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Catch a Wave forces its employees to improperly pool their tips. As a result, servers would be denied tips due to them.

California has some of the strictest labor laws in the country, and tipping regulations are no exception. Below California law, tips and gratuities are considered “the exclusive property of the employee or employees to whom they were paid, given or left for”. While the law does not entirely prohibit tip pooling, such policies should not benefit owners, managers or supervisors and should be fair and reasonable.

Catch a Wave’s tip pooling policies would have missed the mark. The plaintiff in the most recent class action lawsuit sought compensation for tips that were improperly aggregated while he and other servers worked for Catch a Wave.

Catch a Wave has not admitted any wrongdoing in the class action. However, to avoid the risk and cost of pursuing a lawsuit, the company agreed to pay $150,000 to resolve these allegations.

Under the terms of the settlement, class members may receive payment from the net settlement fund of $83,000, the amount remaining after payment of attorneys’ fees and other expenses.

Payments from this fund will vary depending on the number of shifts worked by each plaintiff during the class period. Current and former servers who have worked many shifts during the course period will receive a higher payment than those who have only worked a few shifts.

Exact payment estimates are not available.

The exclusion and objection deadline is August 25, 2022.

The final approval hearing for the tip pooling settlement is scheduled for September 14, 2022.

In order to receive a settlement payment, Class Members must submit a valid Claim Form by August 25, 2022.


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