Can a manager include himself in the “tip jar”?

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Can a manager include himself in the “tip jar”?

Owner’s son/manager is salary paid and does little work at all but still takes a 3rd of tips from tip jar. His mother and father do not take any. I don’t know if there is any law(s) concerning this since the other employee and myself make minimum wage and he is on salary.

Asked on July 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is an interesting and ever changing topic. Tip pooling arrangements (between servers, busboys, kitchen staff) are not usually considered a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act as long as the minimum wage requirements are met, and this may be the same in North Carolina. As to the manager taking the tip, the issue becomes whether the owner (by so taking the third) is taking from a pot of monies that belong to the company or to those who actually did the serving and like. The U.S. Department of Labor talks about tip pooling as not being illegal if it is shared between those who customarily and regularly receive tips. You are not required to share with those who do not customarily and regularly receive tips. So your best bet is to contact your state's labor department and U.S. Department of Labor and file an inquiry or make an anonymous inquiry.


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