ANDERSON, Ind. — Former Gene's Root Beer Stand employees took to the streets Friday to call attention to their grievances with the family drive-in on South Scatterfield Road.
Carrying placards and signs, a half-dozen former employees and supporters responded to honked horns, thumbs-up signs and occasional hollered words of encouragement from passing motorists. "You fight for it, sisters," shouted one driver.
A spokesman for the Anderson Police Department on Thursday confirmed that Andrew Moorman is under criminal investigation for allegedly stealing tips from carhops. No charges have been filed at this point, and any charging recommendations would have to be approved by Madison County Prosecutor's office.
The investigation began after two former carhops, Susan Coppess and Courtney Smith, claimed Moorman was taking a percentage of their tips based on sales. Carhops earn a base wage of $2.15 per hour, so they generally make the bulk of their money through tips.
Coppess worked at Gene's for four years; Smith worked there for one year.
"I'm 47 and college educated," Coppess said. "Don't treat me like I'm stupid. I worked here because I liked the job."
According to Coppess and others, in early 2012, Moorman told carhops he was going to take 2 percent of their total sales from tips to help cover higher food costs and other expenses, a financial hit that could cost up to $30 a shift, several of the former workers said.
One employee contacted an attorney who told Moorman the practice was illegal, and asked him to stop. Moorman did, and paid back some of the money, Coppess and others said.
In June 2012, something more ominous began occurring. Coppess discovered that Moorman and a restaurant manager were ringing up purchases before the restaurant opened and carhops reported for work, purchases the carhops had to cover from their tips. When Coppess confronted Moorman, he allegedly told her if she didn't go to the police, she'd have a job for life.