Worker standing behind counter caption 'When the table doesn't pay and the manager says you have to pay their $60 check but you don't have $60' (l) woman holding open empty wallet with change in hand (c) Worker standing behind counter caption 'When the table doesn't pay and the manager says you have to pay their $60 check but you don't have $60' (r)

MemoriesStocker/Shutterstock @katensullivan/TikTok (Licensed)

‘I’d be quitting that day’: Server with no money says she has to pay $60 check after table walks out without paying the bill

'As a manager at a restaurant that is 100% illegal.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Dec 23, 2022

A server went viral on TikTok after a table allegedly walked out on their tab and she was told she had to cover the cost of their meal.

Throngs of users on the platform decried the practice as “illegal” and urged the server to report the restaurant and/or sue the establishment for making her financially cover the cost of of the lost revenue on the table.

The video was uploaded by Katelyn Sullivan (@katensullivan) and has amassed over 65,000 likes, with hundreds of users leaving replies in the comments section. The Daily Dot has reached out to her via TikTok comment for further information.

A text overlay on Katelyn’s TikTok reads, “When the table doesn’t pay and the manager says you have to pay their $60 check and you don’t have $60.”

@katensullivan #serverlife #dineandditch #restaurantlife ♬ original sound – Katelyn Sullivan

There were many users who protested the manager’s bailed-table-coverage-policy. A user who goes by Kat on the platform wrote, “id be quitting that day or sue or both.”

Another viewer named Gabbi wrote, “as a manager at a restaurant that is 100% illegal.” One TikToker called Kitty cat said, “they legally can not make you pay that. my old manager tried that with me once but I didn’t let it happen.”

It seems that there are a number of users on the app, however, who say that they’ve been forced to do this themselves at their own server jobs.

“Me reading all the comments this is illegal when this happens to me all the time,” a user wrote. TikTok user Diana also said, “I had to either pay or take a write up,” while another viewer named Sydney replied to the video with, “These 2 girls dined and dashed and I had to pay as well.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it doesn’t appear that the issue of making workers cover the cost of a bill a table walked out on is exactly black and white. Yes, it is “illegal” for establishments to make deductions from employee pay to cover the cost of walk-outs, however, this is only the case if those deductions put an employee beneath the minimum wage hourly rate.

The USDL also states that these financial penalties cannot cut into overtime pay, as well, and the same logic also applies to uniforms. That is, if an establishment requires an employee to wear particular clothing to work, the cost of said uniform cannot put an employee’s paycheck beneath the minimum wage threshold.

Different states also appear to have varying laws when it comes to making servers foot the cost of a bill from dine-and-dashers. In New Jersey, for instance, deductions can never be made from a server’s paycheck to account for a walk out. spoke with the state’s Department of Labor, which released a statement on the issue: “An employer cannot ask a server to pay for the meal of a customer in a dine-and-dash situation…This would be considered a diversion of wages which is illegal under the law. New Jersey Wage and Hour Law does not permit any deduction from an employee other than that which is a legal deduction.”

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*First Published: Dec 23, 2022, 11:12 am CST