If my tips were redistributed to other staff members, was this legal?

UPDATED: Feb 18, 2012

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If my tips were redistributed to other staff members, was this legal?

I was working for a well known coffee shop up until about 6 weeks ago. I moved out of state but left all my contact information. When I inquired about picking up my tips from the biggest holiday of the week of the year (the highest tipping week) I was told that I didn’t pick them up in time so they were redistributed to the other staff members. Other staff members have had lower tips held for them for months and I was not contacted before this was done. Is this legal? Is there anything I can do to recover these tips?

Asked on February 18, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to file a complaint with your state department of labor because while tip sharing is legal, withholding them from you and not paying them as part of your last paycheck is considered illegal. You can certainly sue the company for reimbursement but try filing with the department of labor first and see if that agency can convince your employer for free.

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