My employer takes 5 of my charged tips as a commission Is this legal. I’m in Maryland

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My employer takes 5 of my charged tips as a commission Is this legal. I’m in Maryland

After every shift my employer takes 5 of my charged tips

Asked on November 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Under both federal and MD state law, tips belong to the employee and not the employer. Accordingly, employers may not require employees to hand over their tips but does allow a take a "tip credit". Pursuant to this, an employer can count all or part of an employee’s tips towards its minimum wage obligations. Although the employer doesn’t technically “take” the employee’s tips, the employer gets to count some tips as if the employer had paid them directly to the employee. Also, employees can be required to pay part of their tips into a tip pool to be shared with other employees. Finally, some restaurants tack a “mandatory service charge” on to bills for large tables, private parties and/or catered events. Such a charge is not considered a tip so an employer may keep it. That all having been said, if none of the foregoing seems applicable to your situation, you can file a wage claim with your state's departmemt of labor as you employer is breaking the law.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is illegal: 100% of tips have to be shared among the tippable employees (e.g. waiters, bus persons), and neither the restaurant itself nor any non-tippable managers can take any portion of it. You can file a complaint about this with the department of labor.


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