Your Manager May Be Stealing Your Gratuities

July 27, 2017 Admin Employment Law

Many people in the restaurant industry suffer injustices at work and don’t complain because they are afraid of losing their jobs. For most restaurant servers, tips are as important as their salary since they don’t get paid much. It’s not legal for your boss or manager to take your gratuities. Your tips belong to you. Contact a Los Angeles employment attorney to help you explore your legal options and seek justice on your behalf.


The Fair Labor Standards Act has all the rules for tipped workers. Whether a bartender, valet attendant, or restaurant server they must follow the FLSA rules. Any employee who gets over $30 a month in tips is considered a tipped employee. Employers, however, can use the gratuities to offset minimum wage or tip credit.

What are tip credits?

There is a required cash wage for restaurant servers with a minimum of $2.13. A tip credit is using your tips to get to at least the minimum wage so your employer can only get up to $5.12 per hour from you. Even if the employer takes away your tips, it’s still yours. There are no arrangements under FLSA that allow your boss to take away your gratuities.

Tip pools

This generally takes place in small businesses. Employees put their tips together and they are divided equally. Tip pooling can be a good thing as all workers can be fairly compensated and it also encourages teamwork. These are the jars you see when visiting some shops. The whole staff works hard to fill it up. But employers have limitations with tip pools:

  • They must notify employees about any contribution amount
  • Only tip credits can be taken
  • Employers can’t retain these tips

A service charge

Restaurants and banquet halls often have a “service charge” for large events. It’s mandatory for customers to pay this fee. Although service charges are in the client’s bill, they are not tips. Your employer can’t take away your tips. But just remember, every case is different and you must consult an attorney to study your circumstances and figure out when your tip may not have been stolen but rather used for other legal purposes.

Los Angeles employment attorney

Employment laws can be tricky to navigate on your own. The advice of an attorney can help you understand all the complexities of your employment case and choose what’s best for you. Even when you don’t understand everything, remember attorneys are there to protect your interests.

If you are dealing with an employment-related issue, contact Los Angeles employment attorney Jeffrey Rager and schedule a free consultation. We have plenty of experience representing employees who have been mistreated at work. It’s best if you seek legal advice before reporting the incident that way you can make an informed decision. Sometimes employers are difficult to deal with on your own. You need an experienced termination attorney who will protect your rights.

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