Is it illegal for an employer to keep tips?

I work as a bartender in sugar grove pa at a bar called the bucket, my employer takes all tips from bar and restaurant and puts them all together. At end of week all tips are split between bartenders, wait staff and cooks depending on hours worked. I’ve heard on radio that this may be an illegal practice. I would like to find out details before I confront employer.

Asked on December 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Only among  "tippable " employees can tips be collected and split. Such workers are those who wait on the customers such as a host, waiters, bus "boys", bartendgers, etc.. Other employees, such as cooks; managers and the like are not entitled to tips. At this point, you can contact your state's department of labor for further information.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Tips may be collected and split, but only among "tippable" employees. Tippable employees are those who wait on the customers in some way: host or maitre d, waiters, bussers, bartendgers, and the like. Other employess, no matter how valuable they are (cooks; a manager; etc.) are not entitled to tips.

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