Employer Taking Money From The Tip Pool

Tips can make a huge portion of the worker’s income, and since they are generally received as a result of great service or a job well done, they can range from a few dollars to any amount you can imagine depending on the line of work.

Casino dealers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers and the people who make your coffee and sandwiches all benefit from the tip jar, which can make a big difference in their bottom line. Employees from many industries benefit from tips.

Waiters and waitresses can earn sizable tips when a big party comes through the restaurant. In some cases the tip is automatically set at 18% when the party consists of six or more people, but patrons have the option to add even more money to the gratuity. When that happens, it is important for the employees to know that they will see that money.

It Is Common To Pool Tips And Split Them Evenly

Even though you hand the tip to the waitress, the reality is that she will end up handing over all of the tips earned each night so that they can be divided up with other employees.

Some restaurants require that all of the wait staff hands in their tips (which must be reported on tax returns) at the end of the night so that they can be divided evenly among the staff, including servers, bussers and bartenders.

Servers can also share tips with cooks and dishwashers, too, since those positions generally do not leave the kitchen but are responsible for a large portion of a dinner’s success.

Some states provide that servers are only obligated to pool a portion of their tips, and that the redistribution must be done in a way that reflects the customer’s intention.

For example, if a customer gives a server a $100 tip on a $20 meal, citing her incredible service, then she should be allowed to keep the majority of that tip because it was given to her specifically.

The most important thing to understand about pooling tips is that managers and supervisors are not allowed to participate in a tip pool.

They receive a higher rate of pay, usually hourly or salary, that is not dependent upon tips, and so they are not eligible to receive a cut of the pooled tips.

When Is It Wage Theft?

If your manager or supervisor is taking a cut of the money from the tip pool then this could be a form of wage theft, as you are being denied money that you earned.

Wage theft includes any situation where an employee is not paid for hours worked. It includes not being paid for overtime, not being paid for total hours worked, not being paid minimum wage, not receiving a final paycheck upon leaving a job and not being paid at all.

In the case of a manager taking tips from the tip pool, since the manager is not entitled to tips then he is stealing money from the employees and that is wage theft.

It is possible that the manager does not know the rules governing tips and tip pooling, so it is a good idea to speak with human resources or the person responsible for payroll about the situation.

If it is not an accident, then you might need to take action to recover your lost tips.

What You Should Do If You Are A Victim Of Wage Theft

If you suspect that you have been the victim of wage theft, then you should speak with an employment law attorney about your situation to determine the next steps.

If your employer does not stop taking money from the tip pool then you need to file a complaint to stop the behavior and recover your stolen wages.

There are two ways to deal with the situation: You can file a complaint with the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD), or you can file a private lawsuit.

Either way, having an employment law attorney can help you to determine the best course of action, and you will have an expert advocating on your behalf.

You will also have someone working with you to gather evidence and guide you through the steps. Wage theft issues are stressful enough, so it is incredibly beneficial to have some help.

Make sure that you have all of the evidence you can gather for your claim, including the names of everyone involved, witnesses and the amount of money in question, especially if it is something that has taken place over a period of time.

The nice thing is that with employment law cases the legal fees are paid by the employer so there is no need to pay upfront for a consultation or to retain an attorney, even if the amount in question is less than $20.

While hiring an attorney does not guarantee that you will win your case, it will greatly increase your chances for success.