Man showing text message conversations between his boss in TikTok


‘Picked up my final paycheck and it seemed a little light’: TikToker accuses employer of wrongful termination, wage theft

His boss denied the allegations.


Moises Mendez II


Posted on Nov 1, 2021   Updated on Nov 2, 2021, 10:18 am CDT

A man posted a TikTok of the conversation he had with his boss in which he asked to receive paystubs at his restaurant job. The TikToker showed his question to his boss about how the restaurant’s new tipping system worked, allegedly prompting his boss to leave him a voicemail to fire him.

In the video, which has over 1.4 million views on TikTok, Joe Busch told viewers that he worked at Bartolotti’s Pizza Bistro in Springfield, Oregon. Busch said he had suspicions that something was “wrong” when he realized that his paychecks didn’t include paystubs. He continued to say that the owner asked employees not to process cash transactions so that he could “skim a little off the top.”

The owner also started a tip pool—when all of the servers in the restaurant put their tip money together in a “pool” and restaurant staff are paid out based on a percentage—without telling the servers, Busch alleged.

“So I started a company-wide message including the owner, Steve Shinn, and I asked exactly how the tips are being divided up,” Busch said in the video.

In the screenshots Busch displayed in the video, he sent the initial message at 8:31 am and didn’t receive a reply from Shinn until 2:44am. Shinn said in the message that he was splitting the tips based on tiers, “veterans/non-veterans/new hires,” basically how long someone has been at the restaurant. This, however, is an unusual practice as tips are typically split based on front-of-house position—for instance, servers and bartenders making the biggest cut, then bussers and runners, and hosts.

Shinn went on to say that he did this to balance out having to hire new people at “inflated rates” and ended the message by saying, “Needless to say, I do NOT take anything from the tip pool.”

Busch showed that he asked three more clarifying questions to Shinn that were left with no response. He asked Shinn to clarify when the tip pool started, what percentage goes into what pools, and whether salaried managers are included in the pool.

After sending these messages, Busch said Shinn blocked him from the group text and doubled down on the fact that he is “not doing anything that isn’t allowed.” Busch then received a voicemail from Shinn telling him that he is “off the schedule” and that he’s “no longer needed at Bartolotti’s.”

In a follow-up video, Busch said that when he picked up his check it “seemed a little light.” The final paycheck was also accompanied by a note from the owner that read “Joe — Please go seek help. We’re concerned about your well-being.”

Shinn defended himself in an interview with KEZI and said, “[Busch’s] three claims of, I’ve asked him to not ring up cash sales, that I refused to give people pay stubs, and that I steal tips are categorically false.” He continued to argue that his firing of Busch was warranted, “There’s been a line in the past month and a half or so of unacceptable behavior, turning away customers, making videos of him spilling product on the floor, more than enough reason to have let someone go.”

The Daily Dot reached out to the TikToker for comment.

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*First Published: Nov 1, 2021, 6:29 pm CDT