Is it legal for a restaurant to make waiters to pay the credit card service fee with their tips?

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Is it legal for a restaurant to make waiters to pay the credit card service fee with their tips?

My husband’s current restaurant is forcing the waiters not only to participate in a tip share that is high, the owner is now trying to pass off his 3 to 3.5% credit card fees from every transaction on to his servers by taking it out of their tips. This is stealing from the waitstaff to pay for something that should be included in the overhead of running the business. What recourse does my husband and his co-workers have?

Asked on June 10, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Your husband and is fellow servers should make the time to contact the labor board or department of labor: an employer may not take costs or charges out of employee pay (or tips, which are part of their pay) without employee consent. The labor/wage laws are very clear about that. Yes, your husband could file a lawsuit about this, but as a non-lawyer, it would be difficult and time consuming--the wage and labor laws are very technical, and even a non-specialist attorney might have trouble with them. Or you could hire an employment attorney, but you'd spend more on the lawyer than you get back. Let the labor deparment/board handle this for you--this is exactly the sort of thing that falls into their area of responsibility.


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