Owners taking our tips

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raena delvecchio in Arlington Heights, Illinois

49 months ago

I work at a restaurant where the owners take a food deduction out of our checks. We are allowed one meal a shift, but nothing expensive; and if we dont eat, they still take the money out. Is this legal?

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CC in Nor-Cali in San Francisco, California

49 months ago

raena delvecchio in Arlington Heights, Illinois said: I work at a restaurant where the owners take a food deduction out of our checks. We are allowed one meal a shift, but nothing expensive; and if we dont eat, they still take the money out. Is this legal?

Plain and simple is inmoral and heartless.

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MR Unknown in Pullman, Washington

48 months ago

I work at a bar here in town and our salary manager and assistant manger both get tipped out of the pool of tips, which i think is bull crap because they get a higher pay and their checks are the same from payday to payday. but for us we make min wage and then the tips is a bonus that helps us pay our bills for the small amount of hours that we do work. if anyone can help i am trying to find out if it is illegal in the state of washington for salaried managers to take a cut of the tips???? hope to get some kind of feed back so i do know what my next move will be!!

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anne in Damariscotta, Maine

48 months ago

As I've been replying for months, now, it is illegal in ANY state for a manager, salaried or not, to take any tips!!! That includes if they take a role of hosting when shorthanded, etc. Managers/owners, in ANY STATE, cannot take tips from their employees! Go to your Labor Board, get statements from other co-workers, and don't take this crap!! You work hard for your money. Again, I'm a manager, and I would never, ever do this to my staff - was done to me years ago, and I wish I'd spoken up then. (and that was in lake chelan, wa....)

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Anonymous in New York, New York

48 months ago

Metro New York recently reported on a website waiterpay.com that deals with restaurant worker rights: www.metro.us/newyork/local/article/654761--city-s-waiters-find-job-answers-on-new-website. It has a lot of resources on the subject of owners stealing tips and other restaurant worker rights.

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anonymous in Colfax, California

47 months ago

anonymous in Loma Linda, California said: okay so i work at this privately owned restuarnt and get tiped really well but the thing is WE DONT GET TO KEEP OUR TIP. they include our tip in our weekly pay which i think is totally wrong. no one has had the guts to say something but i think its time to take a stand and find out whats really going on. can someone give me some accurate advice please.

IT is illegal to deduct your tips from your wages. I believe Labor code states you must be paid your credit card tips by the next work day. The Law is really straight forward as far how to allocate daily tips. Now for tax purposes I can see your employer documenting your tips but you can always call the labor board and they will guide you in the right direction. DO NOT speak with your employer first get all the facts first so you go in there sure not wondering...Good luck

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rippedoff in Columbia City, Indiana

46 months ago

I work at a chain food restaurant. How is it that they can keep my charge tips? I do not end up getting them on my paycheck, except for a small amount and I also have to claim cash tips. They adjust my payroll when I don't make minimum wage also. Taht I know is illegal. I do have managers who tell me they take my tips and invest them??? Is this legal to take a customers tip and hold it for a period long enough to invest? (2week pay period) I had

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Kim in Minneapolis, Minnesota

46 months ago

My husband recently took a job in a restaurant and originally was hired as a prep cook. He hasn't been doing much cooking but he's been doing a LOT of serving. He told me the tips get pooled into a jar and no one - not he, not the other service staff, see a dime of it. Not that night, not on the next paycheck, never.

And here's the kicker - in addition to this, he works at minimum over 60 hours per week. That's over 10 hours, 6 days per week. And no overtime. He is paid SALARY, as is every other employee, and this amounts to well under minimum wage in the state of Minnesota. (Best I can estimate, it's $4.76 per hour). As I told my husband yesterday, if he were able to at least receive his tips, it'd be tolerable for the time being although in Minnesota tipped employees are to be paid minimum which is 7.35, right?) I'm so disgusted that these jerks are taking advantage of poor people struggling to find a job and exploiting them for their own profit.

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girlinlax in La Crescent, Minnesota

45 months ago

I work in an establishment in Wisconsin alongside the owner. At the end of the night, we split tips evenly. I was trying to find any laws that explain if this is legal. I wouldn't mind giving him a share, but seeing as he is making money off each drink anyway, I'm not sure if he is entitled to an equal amount of the tips. Especially on a slow night when I could handle the business myself (ie. he does not HAVE to be behind the bar).

Anybody KNOW if there are laws in Wisconsin that regulate this? I would like solid proof, not here-say.

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plnnrgirl in Norristown, Pennsylvania

45 months ago

Are you getting tipped in weekly pay OR..are you getting weekly pay check that shows tips earned for payroll purposes?
If you are working and not receiving cash tips AND not being asked to declare it at end of each shift, then there is an employment issue. HOWEVER.. if you can substantiate the total tips earned each time you work and then do not receive cash or paycheck compenstation for that total, then there is a huge problem.

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Marcos in Baxter, Minnesota

44 months ago

julie in Los Angeles, California said: I am a business owner, if i am scheduled in and am working just as hard as my employees can i get tipped tooo

No you can't. as a business owner or even an employee being a "manager" by law, you are not allow to participate in any tips given to the employees that gave service to the customers. That is if you provide the table with a server/bussboy/foodrunner or any direct. The servers are given tips in cash or credit cards charges, not matter how, they are entitle to them.
Now if you as an owner or manager did not provide your customers with server, bussboy nor food runner and the customers left a tip (in cash or credit card charge), then you can keep your tips as gratuity and declare them in your Personnal Income Tax just like every other server does.

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anne in Bristol, Maine

44 months ago

EXACTLY right!!! Managers are not to take a "cut" in tips, unless they are the ONLY employee (snowstorms, at least here, sickouts, etc) available for service. Other than that, NO!!! Great answer!

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Marcos in Baxter, Minnesota

44 months ago

girlinlax in La Crescent, Minnesota said: I work in an establishment in Wisconsin alongside the owner. At the end of the night, we split tips evenly. I was trying to find any laws that explain if this is legal. I wouldn't mind giving him a share, but seeing as he is making money off each drink anyway, I'm not sure if he is entitled to an equal amount of the tips. Especially on a slow night when I could handle the business myself (ie. he does not HAVE to be behind the bar).

Anybody KNOW if there are laws in Wisconsin that regulate this? I would like solid proof, not here-say.

Please refer to department of labor website - Fact Sheet #15: Tipped Employees Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), here is a link:

www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15.htm

read paragraph 3:
"Retention of Tips: The law forbids any arrangement between the employer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip received becomes the property of the employer. A tip is the sole property of the tipped employee. Where an employer does not strictly observe the tip credit provisions of the Act, no tip credit may be claimed and the employees are entitled to receive the full cash minimum wage, in addition to retaining tips they may\should have received."

clear enough?

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anonymous in Sacramento, California

44 months ago

I have a question about tipping out. I'm working at a restaurant that require servers to declare a certain percentage of their tips based on their net sales for the day. On top of declaring my tips, I have to tip out another percentage of our tips from our net sales to our bussers/hostesses. This separate "tip out" to our busser/hostess is not deducted anywhere, beside me losing money out of my pocket. So, in at the end of the day I'm declaring tips that I don't actually have because I gave it to the busser/hostess. Why should I be penalized/tax for money that I didn't take home? The bussers/hostesses are not being tax for tips given to them, so why should I and other servers be tax for those tips to the busser/hostess as part of our income when its not. The restaurant I work for have NO actual "signed" policy that I and other servers "signed" about this busser/hostess "tipping out". This is just a verbal policy, that everyone knows and is not written. When I mention this to the manager I was told if I don't comply,and I quote "there's always someone else that would be willing to take your job". Is all this legal in CA?

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devender damai in Los Angeles, California

43 months ago

I have worked in these 2 restaurants before a year ago, for more than a year on both of em, i worked 10-12 hrs shift six days a week as a waiter and dint get paid hourly but monthly salary which usually comes out to $7/hrs,no time card for me. and NO TIP at all, the tip went to the owner. If I was paid monthly salary do i still get my tip money?? i in average made $60-$150 tip everyday.

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tired in Lewisville, North Carolina

43 months ago

Wow, I never realized that restaurant owners could steal tips! When I tip, it's for the service staff. The owner has already made his profit on the food and drinks. Now I'm going to start asking around to find out which restaurants do "tip out" and take tip percentages. Then I'm not going to patronize those restaurants any more.

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anonymous in Las Vegas, Nevada

43 months ago

Most restaurants do some sort of "tip out" so that the entire wait staff is being taken care of. When you have a hostess seating people, a busser cleaning tables, a bartender making the drinks, and a food runner bringing your meal, it just wouldn't be fair if the server that took your order is the only one profiting from the tips. They problem with tipping out isn't having to share tips, it's when managers start figuring themselves in and when management has unfair rules in place as to how much gets tipped out. I don't mind sharing the wealth....when I actually make the money! Just last night I got stiffed on a table whose bill was %150 (they left $2) and I'm expected to tip out a percentage of the $30 that I theoretically should have been left. Now if that was the only table I had the entire night, I end up paying my busser and hostess out of my own pocket! this sort of thing is what I have a problem with. My manager's response...."oh well"

Unfortunately, Nevada is a right to work state and with the unemployment rate being so high I know that I am entirely dispensable. There are 10 qualified people waiting in line for my job. I work hard at what I do and I am damn good at it! but I expect to be treated as such. Service in this town has suffered tremendously because management would rather keep a revolving door of mediocre employees rather than make a group of good ones happy.

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

43 months ago

anonymous in Las Vegas stated,

When you have a hostess seating people, a busser cleaning tables, a bartender making the drinks, and a food runner bringing your meal, it just wouldn't be fair if the server that took your order is the only one profiting from the tips.

Why isn't it fair for the customer to determine both who should receive his tip and how much they should receive? What you are suggesting is that it shouldn't be up to the customer to determine who will receive a tip and what amount they should receive.

You see, what you are suggesting is that someone, other than the customer, should decide who the customer's tip belongs to. Do you realy think that is fair?

Anonymous went on to state,

They problem with tipping out isn't having to share tips, it's when managers start figuring themselves in and when management has unfair rules in place as to how much gets tipped out.

But that's what having to share tips means. When employees are required to share tips, what it means is that the employer, rather than the employee who was presented a tip, is going to decide all matters concerning the employee's tips.

While I have no issue with servers voluntarily sharing tips, I have a major problem with required tip pooling. No one should be told what they have to do with money that has freely been given them.

Tipping is supposed to work like this. If you like the service someone is giving you, you tip them what you want to tip them. It's your money, so it's up to you to give your tip to whom-ever you want to tip. If there are a few people serving you, tip them all individually if you want to tip them all. If you just give one tip and then expect that they will share it in some way, you are creating more problems than good.

If customers have no way of designating who their tip belongs to and what amount belongs to them, then the workers who receive the tips will have no way to substantiate that their tips belong to them.

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

43 months ago

The reason business owners want tips shared or pooled is, when tips are pooled, the customer is unable to determine who his tip belongs to and what amount belongs to a particular employee.

Take tip jars. When an employer requires that all tips be pooled in a tip jar, the employee who received the tip will have no way to substantiate what was given him because he is being required to throw his tips into the tip jar with everyone else's tips.

Now if tips come up missing from the jar, not one employee is going to be able substantiate how much was taken from him because the tips where all mingled together.

When employers require tip pooling, the customer is stripped of his right to designate who his tip belongs to. As such, not one worker is able to substantiate that a certain amount of the pooled tips belongs to him.

The reason business owners insist on pooling tips is, they don't want their employees to be able to claim ownership of the tips they are given. If an employee is able to claim ownership of the tips he is given, then there would be no legal way for his employer to benefit himself to the tips.

When an employee is required to share his tips, he is required to give up ownership of his tips. Businesses across this country are refusing to hire employees unless they give up ownership of their tips to their employer. The problem is, most workers don't realize that when they take a job where tip pooling is required, they are giving up ownership of their tips.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, "The law forbids any arrangement between the employer and an employee whereby tips become the property of the employer". Fact Sheet .015

The problem is, the Department of Labor has not yet figured out that employer required tip pooling is an arrangement where tips become the property of the employer. Recently, in Oregon, the 9th circuit clarified this point by ruling that the pooled tips actually belonged to the employer. Cumbie v. Woody Woo

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

43 months ago

To those of you who work in places that force you to share your tips.

Doesn't it seem like your employer is stealing your tips when he forces you to do what he wants with your tips?

I am not talking about those of you who apparently want to give your co-workers part of your tips. I have no problem with those of you who like to give up your income to other workers, however. What good does it do to give part of your tips to another worker if subsequently your employer pays the other worker less in hourly wages?

Did you know that the National Restaurant Association successfully lobbied our goverment for a law that allows employers to pay an employee over $5.00 an hour less in hourly wages if employees like those of you who like sharing your tips will share your tips with them?

The point I am trying to make is, while many of you may be honestly attempting to help out your co-workers by sharing your tips with them, restaurant owners pushed for a law that would allow them to pay those workers less in hourly wages if you do share your tips with them. Intead of your tips helping out your co-workers, the tips you're sharing with your co-workers could be indirectly going into your employer's pocket.

If you give a co-worker say, $5.00 an hour in tips and as a result your employer reduces his hourly wages by $5.00 an hour, only the employer is going to actually benefit from the tips you are giving away. Do you understand? If your employer is lowering the hourly wages of the employees you are sharing tips with, then the tips are actually benefiting your employer, rather than your co-workers.

You see, the truth of the matter is, most of these workers who profess to believing in the idea that employees should have to share their tips with co-workers who assist them have been influenced by the same people who lobbied Congress for a law allowing employers to pay tipped employees $2.13 an hour. Do you think this is about fairness, or more profits for employers

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

43 months ago

To those of you who work in places that force you to share your tips.

Doesn't it seem like your employer is stealing your tips when he forces you to do what he wants with your tips?

I am not talking about those of you who apparently want to give your co-workers part of your tips. I have no problem with those of you who like to give up your income to other workers, however. What good does it do to give part of your tips to another worker if subsequently your employer pays the other worker less in hourly wages?

Did you know that the National Restaurant Association successfully lobbied our goverment for a law that allows employers to pay an employee over $5.00 an hour less in hourly wages if employees like those of you who like sharing your tips will share your tips with them?

The point I am trying to make is, while many of you may be honestly attempting to help out your co-workers by sharing your tips with them, restaurant owners pushed for a law that would allow them to pay those workers less in hourly wages if you do share your tips with them. Intead of your tips helping out your co-workers, the tips you're sharing with your co-workers could be indirectly going into your employer's pocket.

If you give a co-worker say, $5.00 an hour in tips and as a result your employer reduces his hourly wages by $5.00 an hour, only the employer is going to actually benefit from the tips you are giving away. Do you understand? If your employer is lowering the hourly wages of the employees you are sharing tips with, then the tips are actually benefiting your employer, rather than your co-workers.

You see, the truth of the matter is, most of these workers who profess to believing in the idea that employees should have to share their tips with co-workers who assist them have been influenced by the same people who lobbied Congress for a law allowing employers to pay tipped employees $2.13 an hour. Do you think this is about fairness, or more profits for employers

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gdt.johnson in Boston, Massachusetts

43 months ago

anonymous in Sacramento, California said: I have a question about tipping out. I'm working at a restaurant that require servers to declare a certain percentage of their tips based on their net sales for the day. On top of declaring my tips, I have to tip out another percentage of our tips from our net sales to our bussers/hostesses. This separate "tip out" to our busser/hostess is not deducted anywhere, beside me losing money out of my pocket. So, in at the end of the day I'm declaring tips that I don't actually have because I gave it to the busser/hostess. Why should I be penalized/tax for money that I didn't take home? The bussers/hostesses are not being tax for tips given to them, so why should I and other servers be tax for those tips to the busser/hostess as part of our income when its not. The restaurant I work for have NO actual "signed" policy that I and other servers "signed" about this busser/hostess "tipping out". This is just a verbal policy, that everyone knows and is not written. When I mention this to the manager I was told if I don't comply,and I quote "there's always someone else that would be willing to take your job". Is all this legal in CA?

In actuality, the IRS expects employees whose earnings are not black and white to declare ONE HUNDRED PERCENT of what they make, seeing as it's income. However: luckily, while the figure varies from state to state, if a restaurant's overall house-wide quarterly tip declaration is "high enough," they will not audit the site or individual employees. In massachusetts it is (off the record) 13-14% of total sales. That is what servers are taxed on - their alleged income, as declared by THEM. While no server makes well above 14% in tips EVERY time, it is certainly better than having to declare EVERYTHING they've made.

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anne in Nobleboro, Maine

43 months ago

Reading, as always, with great interest on this forum as a manager....George in Vegas hits the nail on the head.
Question for all of YOU!
Are you being offered a statement to sign that you are VOLUNTARILY tipping out your support staff?
Never run into this before in 37 years of restaurant work, but apparently in Maine, restaurants can't make any policy about tipping out & it has to be purely voluntary.
Anyone on here from Maine that can weigh in??
Apparently the Dept of Labor can sue an employer who sets a tipout policy, because servers have to volunteer it, it can't be mandated.
Seems to me that's bad for the hostess/bartender/busboys....(we only have servers tip out 3% of food sales & 5% of alcohol sales)
I'd be interested in any thoughts you guys have - how do I protect my servers, but also protect their support staff?

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

43 months ago

Anne, why are you having servers tip out a portion of their tips to these other workers? Did customers leave you instructions explaining that you should divy up their tip like this?

If you want to protect your support staff then stop controlling the tips customer's present your workers. Eventually many of these other workers will work themselves into a server position where they will receive tips.

What is better for the workers, where the waiter earns $40,000 a year and the busboy earns $16,000 a year or where the waiter earns $30,000 a year and the busboy earns $20,000 a year because the owners is requiring the server to give the busboy part of her tips?

You see, what is happening in the restaurant industry is, restaurants are forcing their servers to give over a portion of their tips to the busboys and then lowering the hourly wages of the busboy. Instead of the tips solely going to increase the busboy's income, part of the tips are being used to decrease the owner's staffing costs.

In other words, while the server and the busboy in the above scenario were earning a combined income of $56,000 a year, after the server is required to share part of her tips, the server and the busboy's combined income is only $50,000 a year.

What happened to the other $6,000 dollars the server is being required to give the busboy?

What happened was the owner lowered the busboy's wages by $3.00 an hour right after the server started giving the busboy part of her tips. Instead of the workers solely benefitting from the tips customers are presenting, their employer now indirectly shares in the tips.

The moral of the story is, when employers are allowed to require what an employee must do with his tips, there are countless ways the employer can steal those tips for himself.

Employers should not be controlling the tips customers present their workers. It's not good for any of the workers. It's only good for the employer who can now benefit from the tips.

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

43 months ago

Anne, you asked, how do I protect my servers, but also protect their support staff?

First off, It's your support staff, not your server's support staff.

Secondly, most restaurant owners don't want to protect their workers, that's why they lobbied our government for a law allowing employers to pay tipped employees $2.13 an hour, rather than the $7.25 an hour most other employers have to pay workers.

Third, being offered a statement to sign that you are VOLUNTARILY tipping out your support staff seems more like being intimidated into doing something you really don't want to do.

It sounds like a scene from the Godfather. "I made him an offer he couldn't refuse".

What if I offered you a statement to sign that stated your bank account would be used to pay my bills. Would people really believe you voluntarily signed this blatant attempt at extortion?

Do you know how extortion is defined.

Use of one's authority to unlawfully obtain another's property.

When an employer requires that an employee give up part of the customer's tip to workers who the customer did not physically present a tip to, the employer is, in effect, using his authority as an employer to unlawfully obtain the customer's private property, so that the employer can use the customer's property to pay his workers who were not persented a tip.

So my answer to your question is.

The best way to protect workers in the service industry is,

KEEP THEIR EMPLOYER'S HANDS OFF THEIR TIPS.

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Anne in Nobleboro, Maine

43 months ago

Thank you, George - you made some good points! I'm so used to tipping out (as a server/bartender thru the years), that I want to make sure support staff (paid $8 an hour by the owner) get a little bit extra, without screwing over my servers. (they tip 3%)
Never, ever, in my wildest dreams, did I ever know that this should be VOLUNTARY, not a company policy.

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

43 months ago

Federal law states "Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the 'pooling of tips' among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips. 29 USC section 203(m)

To understand what federal laws are refering to, "the pooling of tips" is explained and defined in great detail under federal regualtions.

CFR 531.54 defines the pooling of tips as,

Where the waiters give a portion of "their" tips to the busboy.

Therefore, it should be understood that what federal laws are stating is that,

Nothing in this section shall be construed to where the waiters are prohibitted from giving a portion of "their" tips to the busboys.

What this means is that it is a violation of federal law to suggest that tips don't belong to the waiter.

Likewise, "TIPS" are defined for purposes of applying the above mentioned provisions of federal law.

CFR 531.54 explains that "Only tips received as money belonging to an employee which he may use as he chooses 'free of any control of the employer' may be counted in applying the provisions of section 203(m)".

What federal laws are stating is that nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the pooling of "money belonging to an employee which he may use as he chooses free of any control of the employer".

What this means is that it is a violation of federal law to suggest that an employee who has been presented tips does not have a legal right to determine both, whether or not he will pool his tips and who he might pool his tips with.

When employers require tip pooling, the employees are subsequently prohbiited from pooling "money free of any control of the employer".

Tip pooling is the right of an individual who has been authorized by customers, to govern the tips he has been given.

It's really a simple concept to grasp when one takes the time to read the federal regulations defining tips and tip pools

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Anonymous in Marquette, Michigan

42 months ago

I work at a restaurant that requires us to tip out our managers, busboys & bartenders. Knowing that I've been tipping out my managers (who do nothing but show my guests to their table) is upsetting enough. I don't even like knowing that I'm not legally required to tip out the other staff either, though I don't mind doing it by my own will, because I appreciate the help they provide.

The more frustrating issue for me is how the owners of the restaurant handle our tips. We are all required to submit our cash tips & merchant copies for credit card transactions at the end of our shift & then our tips are given to us the next day after tip outs have been deducted. However, often, we don't get out tips the very next day, if ever. I am still waiting on a $60 tip that was owed to me back in August (Today is April 26, more than 9 months later), a $56 tip from 1 1/2 months ago among several other missing tips. All of the servers I work with are in the same boat I am with various missing tips. When we ask the owner about them, we're either blown off or ignored. He (the owner) also wants to start charging us the credit card fee every time a customer pays with one. Isn't that illegal? Plus, I have no idea how this works, but servers who make "too much" in tips, according to the owner, get it taken out of their weekly paycheck & if it's more than their paycheck, they actually have to pay the owner back that amount. I have NO idea how that works & luckily, I haven't made "too much money" for that to happen to me yet, but it can't be right. I've never heard of that in any restaurant business.. ever.

I've finally gotten sick of it & want to do something about it. With everything I read, though, everyone suggest calling different agencies, boards, etc. Which do I ACTUALLY contact about getting my (& my coworkers') money?!

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Anonymous in Marquette, Michigan

42 months ago

ps. i regards to the "too much" in tips, the owner says he's working out everybody's taxes so they don't end up owing the gov't during tax season. but a lot of my coworkers still either ended up owing or they didn't get the amount of money the owner took from them in their return. it all seems so crooked & although I'm not the most educated in accounting, etc, I just know this is wrong. He's already been in trouble with the law for tax fraud before. It's infuriating to think that my money is in the hands of such a dishonest person.

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Torontoserver28 in Toronto, Ontario

41 months ago

Nice Server in Jacksonville, Florida said: I'm curious about the laws concerning "tipping out." At our restaurant, the owners take a nice size of our tips and tell us that it goes to the hostess salary, valet services, and employee party at the end of the year. Is this legal?

ooooooooh. who cares about what's legal! This man dares to throw an employee party with your money!what a jackass! He pays his other staff with your money!! get out of there and fast! you can definitely find better and more fair. You are wasting your time. It' none of his business in the first place how much you are making in tips. He's using you and should be put out of business.

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Torontoserver28 in Toronto, Ontario

41 months ago

Also, your taxes are your own business. I work as a server/bartender in Toronto, full time, and have never owed the government.

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anonymous in Santa Maria, California

41 months ago

What are they doing with cash recipts because my boss is doing something wierd too! They are recalling the cash tickets then deleting them and taking the money then telling me they need money to go to the store when we have a seven hundred door at least petty cash....why? Another thing we dont get any tips when the servers tip us out. they said its to repay them for any overpourage when he only eyeballs the bottles. Last week we were shot two shots of well vodka and he charged us 8.25 when he liturally gets the bottle for 5.00. and we dont even get a empoyee discount on our food when we are working for same reason the way his who system works is stupid its not correct.

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

41 months ago

According to federal law, you cannot be prohibited from keeping your tips for your use. It's a little complicated, but it's really not that hard to understand.

29 USC section 203(m) explains that employers are allowed to credit a limited amount of your tips toward the payment of minimum wage. What this means is that our government has allowed employers to take a limited portion of your tips to pay your minimum wage. While normally, an employer would have to use his own revenues to pay you minimum wage, $7.25 an hour, the tip credit provisions of the act, section 203(m), allows your epployer to use up to $5.12 an hour of your tips to pay your minimum wage.

So what federal laws actully do is they prohibit employers from taking your tips except for that portion of your tips that the tip credit has allowed employers to take.

What this means is that federal laws prohibit your employer from taking your tips from you, except by way of a minimum wage reduction, which reflects the fact that your employer is taking a tip credit and utilizing a limited part of your tips to pay minimum wage.

Now here is the law that prohibits employers from taking your tips away from you.

Section 203(m) states,
Nothing in this sectin shall be construed to prohibit "THE POOLING OF TIPS" among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips.

Since CFR 531.54 defines "THE POOLING OF TIPS" as, "Where the waiters give a portion of their tips to the busboy", the words "POOLING OF TIPS" can be replaced with the definition provided by CFR 531.54.

What we now have is a law explaining that,

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to prohibit the waiters from giving a portion of their tips to the busboy.

If your employer is not allowing you to keep your own tips, then he is unlawfully misconstruing federal laws to where you and your fellow waiters are subsequently prohibited from giving a portion of "YOUR" tips to the busboy.

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wendytiger in Burnsville, North Carolina

41 months ago

I may have a situation that really beats all here. See what you think? I went to work in a new restaurant today and I'm not believing the policies I found. I was told I would be working part-time, as a waitress. When I got to work the owner told me that I would be paid hourly, $8 per hour. I noticed the tip jar by the cash register and kind of wandered why it was there. I was cleaning a table and there was a tip left for me, but before picking it up I wanted to be sure on the tip procedure. I asked the other waitress about it and she informed me that I would not be getting any tips. She told me to take it and put it in the tip jar at the register. She said that she was the only full-time waitress, and that her and the owner splits the tips 50/50 every night. No other server gets tips. This waitress works 70 hours a week, and said I would probably be working well over 40 a week myself. The owner also pays everyone under the table and doesn't hold any tax out. I'm just floored and don't know what I should do. I really need this job, but there is a lot wrong here and I don't know if I can just ignore it!

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Cowboy69 in Anniston, Alabama

41 months ago

Okay, so I've been working in a family owned joint for about two months now. At the end of every night, out of our credit card tips, the restaurant takes 8% for "sales tax", $15 for the bartender, and $12 for the food runner (we only had one). And, if we don't make at least the money required to cover the bar, food runner, and the "sales tax", then we have to pay the difference out of pocket. What's up with that? Shouldn't the money for the bartenders and the food runners come out of our sales instead of our credit card tips? I mean, yeah, I've had nights where I've made excellent money, and voluntarily tipped the bartenders and food runners out of my cash tips, but then on other days where I don't make much, or when I only work half a day, I wind up having to pay out my pocket, essentially having to pay to work. What's the deal? This has got to be violating some kind of law somewhere.

As a side note, a few weeks ago, they got rid of the only food runner, stating that they were "Tired of hearing complaints about having to pay him out of our tips" and that they "just want us (servers) to make more money." Whether this is the truth or not, I'm not certain. But I just found it interesting.

Also, I understand that as a server, I only make $2.13/hr. But every week I get a paycheck. And every week, that paycheck is for an amount of $0.00, and it clearly states on the check, "THIS IS NOT A CHECK." And, regardless, of whether I've worked 40 hours, or 80-90+ hours, the paycheck always says exactly 40 hours. When I've asked my managers about this, I'm told that it all goes to "taxes." What's up with this? That's GOT to be some kind of illegal.

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servergirl in Norristown, Pennsylvania

41 months ago

WOW!! Minimum server wage is $2.83 per hour. So at MINIMUM you should be making that wage on the paycheck. If employer is not reporting minimum then you could be in real trouble with IRS if you file tax return. I'm working for owner that is willy-nilly with how he "declares" our tips but at least we actually know what is going on with the cash/credit tips.

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gdt.johnson in Boston, Massachusetts

40 months ago

anonymous in Sacramento, California said: ...I'm working at a restaurant that require servers to declare a certain percentage of their tips based on their net sales for the day. ...So, in at the end of the day I'm declaring tips that I don't actually have because I gave it to the busser/hostess. ...The bussers/hostesses are not being tax for tips given to them, so why should I and other servers be tax for those tips to the busser/hostess as part of our income when its not. ...When I mention this to the manager I was told if I don't comply,and I quote "there's always someone else that would be willing to take your job". Is all this legal in CA?

first: it is not the restaurant that requires you to declare a percentage of your sales as tip income. it is the IRS. second: are you declaring every penny you make in tips every day? if not, you are essentially making money "under the table." third: the IRS, while stating on the record that you must declare 100% of your tips,(aka all of your income, like those whose wages are all "on the books")will usually settle for a certain percentage of your sales as tip income. this is usually around 13%. hopefully you're making more than that, whether you're tipping the bussers who clean your tables so you can turn them or not. if the restaurant is even remotely honest they are, in fact, declaring the tips the bussers make. so again, while i know it isn't a million dollars, you are still making money that no one has to know about. and yes, i'm an owner. and apparently one of the few honest ones, by the looks of it...and your boss is a creep for the comment he/she made.

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wiserwaitress in Albuquerque, New Mexico

39 months ago

Please refer to the blog wiserwaitress.com. for information about the rights of waiters and waitresses.

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Wondering in Seattle, Washington

39 months ago

We have a policy at our restaurant that I am not sure if it is legal or the right way to do it...server's and bartender's tip out on their Gross sales instead of their Net sales which means they are tipping out on taxes, etc...is that right? Is there a law in Washington State? How do I find out information regarding this....Thanks.

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wiserwaitress in Rio Rancho, New Mexico

39 months ago

Nice Server in Jacksonville, Florida said: I'm curious about the laws concerning "tipping out." At our restaurant, the owners take a nice size of our tips and tell us that it goes to the hostess salary, valet services, and employee party at the end of the year. Is this legal?

NO. You must agree in writing for deductions for employee party. Tipped employees who are patt of the chain within the restaurant are the only employees allowed to participate in the tip pool.

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Cris in Tampa, Florida

39 months ago

Until about three months ago, 3% of our sales were taken out of our tips to be distributed between the bartender and the two bus boys...our company moved to a new payroll system and did not inform the servers that bus boys were no longer being tipped out. Even though this system has been in place for three months, servers have still been tipping out about a fifth of what they make a night...out of that 3% only 1% goes to the bartender. When I ask my managers where the rest goes, they shrug and say they can't change our cashout system and don't know where the rest goes. I'm losing almost $150 dollars a month tipping out no one? What can I do about this?

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somad@hero in Oakland, California

39 months ago

Bet you can't beat this! My daughter got a part-time job as a server at a new organic cafe near UCI. After a couple of weeks, the owner stated the servers would no longer get paid hourly; they would get to split the tips while the cashiers get "a percentage of the sales". Well, she came home with about $2 per hour the first day. Of course, she quit the next day and the owners have not yet paid her a dime for the 3 weeks she worked previously. Three other employees have also quit already and they haven't been paid either. On top of all this, employees were told to hold back the "extra shot" of coffee because the customer won't know anyway...

I wish there was a way to stop them from exploiting naive students. In the YELP reviews, everyone says how nice the owner is -- if only people knew...

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plnnrgirl in Norristown, Pennsylvania

39 months ago

Then use the YELP listings to let the public know that owner treats employees poorly, eg..constant rate of turnover noticed by customer. As long as you don't make direct attack on owner (to avoid liable issues), you can let the general public know that owner is not as nice as they think.

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wiserwaitress in Albuquerque, New Mexico

39 months ago

Tammy Norris in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina said: i had the same problem. i was getting off work at 3 and the register wouldnt be counted til four and the manager said it was new policy to count register first. No where in store said there was a new policy so i of course jumped up and said i was calling corporate bc i was tired of them screwing me over and she fired me

First of all, file for unemployment. you just may win. I did. But documente. Get some witnesses. Does anyone else there also put up with this crap? They can't take the tip credit when there are no opportunities to earn tips such as this hour of waiting. Also refer to the blog wiserwaitress.com for more info. Good Luck!

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LH in Wakefield, Rhode Island

39 months ago

Want to control your own tip receipts? Sign up at ziptip.net. Ziptip is a new service that allows your customers to tip you using their smart phones. It is just launching (summer 2011) and already signing up tippees at ziptip.net. Simply sign up and show your customers your Ziptip Medallion (it's just like a business card but doesn't share any confidential info about you and contains the info Tippers need to tip you with their phones). You can get the Medallions at ziptip.net too. Start controlling your own tips - they belong to you!

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server in Atlanta, Georgia

39 months ago

recently, the owner of my restaurant told us in the state of Georgia we are not allowed to add gratuity to a customers bill. Originally on your menus at the bottom it said "for parties of 5 or more an 18% gratuity will be added to the final bill" We are a fine dine restaurant in downtown. We get a lot of foreigners, and people that probably wouldnt tip if we didnt charge the gratuity. Has anyone heard of this?

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

38 months ago

Did you know that tips added to the bill are legally different than tips freely given?

Federal laws and regulations define tips as money an employee is to retain, or money belonging to the employee.

Federal regulations define service charges as money not received as tips and money belonging to the employer.

I don't know why any worker would want customers charged a tip when the money, by law, then becomes the employer's property.

Here is a question for you, server in Atlanta. Do customers tip you on top of paying the service charge?

If they don't, then the only one whose really gaining anything from the added gratuity is your employer.

Most customer won't leave you a tip if they have to pay a service charge. What this means legally is, instead of the customer giving the employees tips, the customer is giving the business owner additional revenues for the operations of his busness.

Please see CFR 531.52, GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS OF "TIPS" and CFR 531.55 EXAMPLES OF AMOUNTS NOT RECEIVED AS TIPS.
www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_98/29cfr531_98.html

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

38 months ago

Just an interesting point I would like to bring up.

It's a fact now that many states are banning smoking in restaurants and bars, based on the premiss that the customer has a legal right to a clean environment. This includes accessing business establishment or shops that are free from any obstruction and hazards such as pollution, smoke, toxic materials, bad smell and other else.

In fact, consumer rights have been summed up this way.

There are certain rights of the consumers and they must be aware of these rights. These rights include; the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to safety, the right to be heard and the right to a clean environment.

My question for you all is. Why doesn't the customer have the right to decide who his tip belongs to?

One of the main themes heard on this board is how restaurants have tip out policies which share the customer's tip among certain types of workers such as food runners, busboys, hostesses, bartenders and other types of workers.

If the consumer has a right to choose, why are business owners choosing who to give their tip to?

Personally, I don't think a business owner should be able to take tips away from anyone whom has been given a tip. However, most restaurants require tip outs. That's where the waitress is required to give part of her tips to other workers.

The question that remains is, why is the business taking away the customer's right to choose who his tip belongs to. That's what required tip outs do. If a restaurant has a tip out policy, the customer is unable to choose who his tip belongs to.

The truth of the matter is, tip out policies are illegal. Business owners have no right to dictate who the customer's tip belongs to. For now however, restaurants are winning the war on tips. They will continue controlling tips to their interests until the public is made aware of what's really going on.

A business can steal the customer's tip, but they can't pollute his lungs?

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George in Las Vegas, Nevada

38 months ago

Just an interesting point I would like to bring up.

It's a fact now that many states are banning smoking in restaurants and bars, based on the premiss that the customer has a legal right to a clean environment. This includes accessing business establishment or shops that are free from any obstruction and hazards such as pollution, smoke, toxic materials, bad smell and other else.

In fact, consumer rights have been summed up this way.

There are certain rights of the consumers and they must be aware of these rights. These rights include; the right to be informed, the right to choose, the right to safety, the right to be heard and the right to a clean environment.

My question for you all is. Why doesn't the customer have the right to decide who his tip belongs to?

One of the main themes heard on this board is how restaurants have tip out policies which share the customer's tip among certain types of workers such as food runners, busboys, hostesses, bartenders and other types of workers.

If the consumer has a right to choose, why are business owners choosing who to give their tip to?

Personally, I don't think a business owner should be able to take tips away from anyone whom has been given a tip. However, most restaurants require tip outs. That's where the waitress is required to give part of her tips to other workers.

The question that remains is, why is the business taking away the customer's right to choose who his tip belongs to. That's what required tip outs do. If a restaurant has a tip out policy, the customer is unable to choose who his tip belongs to.

The truth of the matter is, tip out policies are illegal. Business owners have no right to dictate who the customer's tip belongs to. For now however, restaurants are winning the war on tips. They will continue controlling tips to their interests until the public is made aware of what's really going on.

A business can steal the customer's tip, but they can't pollute his lungs?

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server in Atlanta, Georgia

38 months ago

George... depending on the customer, some do leave tips on top of the service charge. we get alot of foreigners at our restaurant... because of the big conventions that are help in atlanta such as Microsoft, Chicken Pluckers, Americas Mart Shows, and Dragon Con. And because of these conventions, most of them are foreigners that come in big parties... mainly 8 and up... and our menu isnt very cheap. We are concern as a waitstaff because of these large conventions that we aren't going to make money.

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