By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The sports bar Chickie’s and Pete’s is known in Philadelphia as the home of “crabfries,” but a lawsuit against its owner says the place is a bit of a shark tank.

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The suit alleges that the airport branch of the popular bar took credit card fees out of waitstaff tips.

It was a common practice until one year ago, when Philadelphia City Council enacted a law prohibiting restaurants from withholding the two-percent processing fee from tips that patrons added to their credit cards (see related story).

But the lawsuit alleges that Chickie’s and Pete’s went one better, deducting two percent of the entire check.

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“For workers who are being paid only $2.83 an hour plus tips, any reduction in the tips they earn has a huge impact on their ability to earn a living,” says attorney Lou Pechman, who represents former bartender Andrew LaPlante.

A spokesman for Chickie’s and Pete’s, Kevin Feeley, won’t say whether the bar withheld any fees but says it tries to be fair:

“They treat their employees with respect.  They try to do the right thing by their employees.”

The US Labor Department is also investigating the chain.

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