Can my manager take my tips?

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Can my manager take my tips?

My co worker and I work at this restaurant as
hosts and we’re suppose to split our tips.
We’ve recently realized that our manager has
been taking out some tips to keep for herself.
Can she do that? If not what can we do to stop
that?

Asked on May 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Federal law clearly states that an employer may not retain any employee tips other than for a valid tip pooling arrangement. Such a valid arrangement is when wait staff are required to share tips with other FOH ("front of house") employees, such as bartenders and bussers. Managers, however, are not mentioned. Consequently, a manager who also plays the role of hostess or bartender is performing FOH work that is normally allowed to "participate in tip pools". A manager who takes a table is not breaking federal law if they pocket the tip. Additionally, sometimes states laws are stricter. For example, participating in tip pools may nullify the tip credit which means that if the manager dips their hand into the tips, the owner owes the host/hostess the full minimum wage. For specific state work rules/regulations, you can contact your state's department of labor.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The manager is entitled to a share of tips if she also does tippable work or duties--e.g. if she also weights tables or tends bar. But if she does not herself do something tippable, she is not entitled to any portion of the tips; in that event, you could look to file a complaint with your state department of labor for her violation.


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