Last Tuesday, a federal judge approved an United Airlines settlement over skycaps’ tips. The lawsuit alleges that companies with who United contracted with to provide skycaps at airports across the U.S. paid less than minimum wage while not allowing them to keep all of their tips.
Skycaps are found at most major airports and located at the curb to assist departing passengers with luggage and curb-side check in. By tradition, skycaps are tipped for their services. However from October 2006 to August 2008, United imposed a $2 fee for each bag checked curbside.
The skycaps claim since not every customer paid the $2 fee the skycaps sometimes had to use their tip money to cover. Customarily skycaps are paid less than minimum wage because most of their compensation is the form of tips from airline passengers.
Their attorneys allege that United violated the Fair Labor Standards Act because it was not entitled to take a tip credit against the federal minimum wage because skycaps were not allowed to keep all of their tips.
Under the settlement agreement, 135 skycaps will receive an average of about $1,000 each, after attorneys’ fees.