Mac and Bobs

Allison Kessel, Contributor

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Who would have thought that a local business would be forced to declare bankruptcy due to a dispute with one employee who worked there for only ten months? Mac and Bob’s recently released news that they were being sued for a tipping violation. One of the owners, Bob Rotanz, released a video explaining what had happened. The confusing and complicated news started in late May of 2018 when a lawyer from Texas served them with a class-action lawsuit for violating the U.S. Labor Department tip sharing rules. Mac and Bob’s had the waitstaff share a percentage of their tips with the dishwashers. The waitstaff makes less than minimum wage and relies on the tips to increase their salary. On the other hand, the dishwashers were already making minimum wage and receiving extra tips from the underpaid waitstaff. This sharing of tips is against the law. The Mac and Bob’s owners were unaware this was illegal, they were just trying to encourage everyone to work hard. The restaurant said that this lawsuit could potentially put them out of business, forcing them to file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy for protection.

Being a small business is challenging enough in itself, but to be struck with legal issues like this are unnecessarily burdensome and grueling. Bob Rotanz even offered a very generous settlement to the employee, but he turned it down because the lawsuit offered greater rewards for him. The Texas lawyer suggested that the former employee go on Facebook and recruit other former employees to join the lawsuit. If all of the former employee’s were to join the lawsuit, the potential penalty, and legal fees would have been over 1 million dollars.

Mac and Bob’s has served thousands of satisfied customers for 38 years. When the video was released, many customers were shocked by this news. Everyone in the community rallied to support Mac and Bob’s.  Some local businesses, like Old Salem Brewing Company, helped raise funds to support the restaurant. The community visited the restaurant in unusually large numbers often waiting extended periods of time for a table. They helped raise money by tipping workers more than usual and raised 47,000 dollars in just two days with the ultimate goal of 100,000 dollars to offset the legal expenses. The owners were overwhelmed by the community’s generosity and support. They say Mac and Bob’s isn’t going anywhere and plan to continue serving great food for years to come.

Despite the outpouring of support from the community, Mac and Bob’s had to file Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on September 19, 2018. This will help protect the business and all the current employees. They will use the money raised to continue their legal battles which are still being decided. Any leftover money from the lawsuit will go into a scholarship fund for their current employees.

Overall, the restaurant’s legal matters are still being decided, but we all hope that Mac and Bob’s can continue to do business in Salem.

 

Link for the video-

 

Link for the video-

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