By Anne Stanton
A former teen employee of Kilwins said that the candy shop in
Traverse City takes most of the tips that are intended for the
workers, and has filed a lawsuit to get her money back.
People were leaving tips, thinking they were going to the kids. Not
only were they ripping the kids off, they were deceiving the public.
Thats what really bothers me, said Marvin Hagelberg, who helped his
daughter file the suit.
Owner Mary Daily declined comment and referred questions to Traverse
City attorney Craig Elhart.
Elhart said that the employee is absolutely misrepresenting all the
facts and implied the employee was routinely tardy and a no-show for
Shayla Hagelberg, 18, said she worked for Kilwins this past summer,
her third summer at the candy store, which serves up tasty homemade
fudge, gigantic caramel apples, and ice cream cones to throngs of
Shayla now works at a different coffee shop near M-72. She said that
if her character or punctuality is challenged, shell bring up the
fact that she had a near perfect attendance at Traverse City West
Senior High, carried a 3.8 GPA, won numerous academic awards,
graduated summa cum laude, and was first chair cello in the schools
orchestra. She plans to subpoena her time cards to prove her
punctuality at Kilwins.
Shaylas experience at Kilwins soured earlier this year, when she
arrived a few minutes late to work on June 25, which she claims was
the first time ever. Co-owner Brian Daily allegedly became angry,
slammed the door in her face, and told her to wait in her car.
Hagelberg began crying and decided to quit, but co-owner Mary Daily
(Brians wife) showed up and eventually convinced her to stay,
promising a $250 bonus and a 50-cent raise if she worked until the end
of summer, but nothing was signed, according to the court filing.
Hagelberg said she received only a 35-cent raise and no bonus at the
end of summer despite working until August 20. When her father asked
Brian about the bonus, he allegedly said, Im an asshole. What are
you going to do about it?
That, unsurprisingly, prompted Marvin to help his daughter file a
claim in small claims court. But the case recently went to 86th
District Court because the Dailys wanted to hire an attorney, the
likes of which are not allowed in small claims court.
Thats when Hagelberg decided to include the alleged tip shortage in
the lawsuit and to raise her ask from $300 to $2,700 plus interest,
fees, and attorney fees.
In a response filing, the couple said that Shayla forfeited her bonus
because she voluntarily quit. (Employees who worked through Labor Day
did get a bonus check.) The couples court filing also said that
Shayla received all the tips to which shes entitled, and then, rather
contradictorily, added that Shayla was an hourly, at-will employee and
not entitled to any tips. It also said there was no meeting of the
minds between Hagelberg and Kilwins regarding a raise and bonus. And
no written contract.
Shayla said that her last day was August 20, just as she told the
Dailys early in the summer. She got a new job that could provide more
hours, and said that Mary asked her to call if she had extra time to
work at Kilwins on the weekends. Shayla said she hadnt called Mary
to work, but she also didnt quit as alleged or pull a no-show.
Shayla said that Mary routinely collected the tips that customers left
in the two large glass jars that say, Tips Thank You and Feeling
Tipsy? Her standing promise to employees was to equally divide the
tips and pay a bonus at summers end. Shayla wrote in her filing that
the total tips, ranging from $30 to $100 each day, should have equated
to about $800 per employee. But her bonus checks for the first two
summers were only $50, she told Express.
Megan Thompson, who worked at Kilwins in the summer of 2008, agreed
that the tips came nowhere close to what she believes was left in the
tip jars. She said Kilwins paid her a bonus of $60 for her share of
tips at summers end, but it didnt make sense. This past summer, for
example, she worked at a downtown coffee shop and typically made $60
in four days.
And the coffee shop wasnt nearly as busy as Kilwins. It really
didnt add up, and the customers thought the money was going to us,
especially the older guys. They loved coming downtown and talking to
people at ice cream places. Theyd always hand you a dollar and say,
Thank you honey, and you had to put it in the tip jar.
Another former employee said that it would be far better if Kilwins
just split the tips up everyday like most restaurants do, instead of
paying them out as a bonus. That way the
kids would know they were getting their fair share and that tips were
dispensed equitably among them.
Shayla is asking Kilwins to either eliminate the tip jar or start
giving all the money to the kids.
Shayla and the Kilwin owners were ordered to meet with a mediator. If
they fail to make nice, they will likely go before Judge Mike Haley in