Leona Helmsley’s Namesake Restaurant Engaged In Apparent Tip Gouging

The New York Times Diner’s Journal has revealed that Leona’s, a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan named after the deceased socialite and real estate magnate, has been adding an automatic 19 percent gratuity to all purchases made.

This policy seems to be in violation of New York City’s Consumer Protection Rules, which state that restaurants cannot charge an automatic gratuity, unless the service goes above and beyond what is stated in the menu, or is applied to parties of eight or more.

While not necessarily an employment law situation, it does raise many questions about how automatic “gratuities” are handled, and distributed to those who should be receiving them- like waitresses, porters, and back of house staff.