What to do if I was recently fired from a band that received a very large check tip one night while I was playing with them and I didn’t get my fair share?

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What to do if I was recently fired from a band that received a very large check tip one night while I was playing with them and I didn’t get my fair share?

I showed the check to one of the employees at the venue who quickly told others at the venue. Shortly after I was fired and given less than 2/3 of my quarter share (we always split tips evenly). The bandleader/business owner justified this by saying we would have made more on a subsequent gig if the management had not known of this tip (though more was never promised or agreed upon by management and the “more” was less than half of the deducted amount). The other half was split by the business owner and another bandmember for business costs that are taking place after my departure. Is this legal? Do I have a small claims case?

Asked on January 4, 2013 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If there was an agreement (even an oral or verbal agreement) among the band members that you would receive a 1/4 share, that agreement should be enforceable in court. A good option would to bring the case in small claims, where you can act as your own attorney, filing fees are low, and cases generally move more quickly.


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