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Waitress fired after complaining online about no tip from church

The Washington Post

February 12. 2018 10:25PM

A huge order came in to an Outback Steakhouse in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., on Wednesday: 25 steaks, 25 chickens and 25 potatoes. The total was $735. Server Tamlynn Yoder, 25, spent most of her shift getting it packaged, making sure it was correct and then carrying it out to the car.

But when the Christian megachurch that ordered it didn’t leave a tip, Yoder spoke out in frustration on Facebook — and promptly lost her job, the Palm Beach Post reported. The firing has reignited a long-fought debate over whether tipping on carryout orders is compulsory — and how much money a person is expected to leave.

Servers, especially at casual chain restaurants, typically make less than the minimum wage, and the difference is made up by tips. Florida’s minimum wage is $8.25 an hour, but the tipped minimum wage is $5.23. Yoder said that because she spent so much time working on the carryout order, she couldn’t tend to other tables, and made only $18 in tips that day.

“We take the order over the phone, we put the order together, take payment and then take [the] order to the car,” Yoder told the Palm Beach Post. “It’s a lot of work, just as much as serving.”

When she wasn’t tipped for the order, she posted a rant on Facebook without mentioning her employer’s name. A friend who saw it told her he would call the church, Christ Fellowship, to ask it to make amends. Instead, Yoder arrived at work the next day to learn that the church had been refunded for its order, and that she had been terminated.

A spokesman for Outback Steakhouse told the Palm Beach Post that company policy prohibits employees from posting about customers on social media.

The church told the Palm Beach Post that the lack of tip was an oversight from a church employee who was in a rush to pick up the order, and that the church called Outback to try to get a tip to her — not to get her fired.

The church posted a comment on its Facebook page: “Thank you all very much for expressing your concerns. We are sorry to hear about this situation and our leaders have been notified about it. We value our local business partners and those who work in their establishments — many of whom are members of our church — and it is customary for us to leave a generous tip whenever we pick up a carryout order. They will be looking into what happened in this instance. We are reaching out directly to the people affected.”

Yoder said that after the incident, a few families from the church gave her a sum totaling “more than the tip.” But she’s still out of a job.

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