Employee Tips: Who gets the tip jar?

Tips are considered the sole property of the employee. The Department of Labor prohibits the surrendering of tips to management or owners of the establishment. This includes tips of hourly employees who make above the state or federally mandated minimum wage and regardless of whether the employer has claimed a “tip credit.”
When customers directly tip an employee or place tips in a publicly displayed “tip jar,” it is the intention of the patron to tip the employees working behind the counter, not the unseen management or owners.
“Tip pooling” is permitted whether a tip credit is being claimed or not. A tip pool is valid among employees who would customarily receive tips. That includes all employees who work in the public eye. For example, in a restaurant, the busboys, hostess, servers, and food runners would customarily receive $30 or more per month in tips and therefore are eligible. Employees who work outside the public view, such as prep cooks, dishwashers, and all management or prohibited from participating in the tip pool. If such employees do receive pooled tips, it shall invalidate the tip pool for all employees.
If you believe your employer has participated in illegal or invalid tip crediting or tip pools, you may be eligible for compensation. The employment attorneys at Massey & Duffy have extensive experience in determining the validity of employer tip credits and tip pools. Your consultation is always confidential.
Please call our office at (352) 505-8900 today to schedule your free consultation.

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