Is it legal for an employer to take a percentage of a server’s gross sales from their check to disperse as a tip to the kitchen employees?

Asked on November 5, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The employer cannot take money from the server--from his/her tips, or his/her salary/wages--to give as tips to non-tippable employees, like kitchen employees, so no, this is illegal, and you could file a complaint with the labor department and/or sue (in small claims court or even regular district or county court, depending on how much is involved) for your money. The employer is free to give the kitchen staff a bonus or extra pay, and can even calculate it off gross sales--but it must be the *employer's* own money, not money taken from other employees.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.