If I’m a cashier who gets an hourly wage but also gets tips, since I’m the one giving the service is it legal for my employer to keep the tips and claim it’s used towards company events?

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If I’m a cashier who gets an hourly wage but also gets tips, since I’m the one giving the service is it legal for my employer to keep the tips and claim it’s used towards company events?

I never signed a paper that said I was willing to submit my tips to a tip pool and I’ve worked in many different restaurants but I’ve never seen this happen. Is this legal? How do I approach the situation I the case that it’s not?

Asked on March 11, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not. 
A tip pool is legal: all tips can be collected and divided evenly among all tippable employees. This is not uncommon, since it means that someone is not unfairly punished by getting, for example, cheap customers. Tip pools even out the tips: the superstars or those lucky enough to get more generous tippers lose money, but those who had bad tables or customers get more. But still, the tip money only goes to those who get tips.
As stated, a tip pool is nothing more than taking all tips and sharing them amongts all employees who get tips. The employer cannot keep any; cannot use them for company events; and cannot use them to reward the "best" employees (if a company wants to reward its best employees, it can give them a raise or pay them a bonus from company money). All tips must only go to tipped employees. If your company is withholding or keeping part of your tips improperly, you may wish to file a complaint with your state's department of labor.


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