San Diego Tip Pooling Lawyers
Many California employees rely on tips for a significant portion of their income, including members of the hospitality, restaurant, and service industries. If you receive tips, you should understand the laws regarding tip pooling arrangements in California.
Are you concerned that you are not receiving your fair share of tips or that your employer is violating tip pooling laws? Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, Inc. has helped employees recover unpaid wages and tips for years.
Our San Diego tip pooling lawyers can answer your questions about tips or gratuities in a free consultation. We’ll explain your rights under California law and what we can do to help you receive the tips you earned. Call (619) 693-7727 today.
How Our San Diego Employment Lawyers Can Help if You Are Being Cheated Out of Your Tips
Our lawyers understand the tactics used by employers to cheat workers out of their fair wages and income. Tips belong to workers. Our San Diego employment attorneys can help you fight for your fair share of the pot when your employer pools tips.
When you hire Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, Inc., you can expect us to:
- Analyze your situation and provide a detailed explanation of your rights and legal options
- Investigate your employer’s conduct to determine if they broke the law
- File required notices, claims, and lawsuits to protect your right to fair compensation for damages
- Determine whether it is better to pursue a claim under federal law or California labor laws
We encourage you to reach out to our law firm if you have questions about tip pooling or other hour and wage issues. Call now to schedule your free case review with an experienced labor law attorney in San Diego, California.
Employers Are Prohibited From Taking an Employee’s Tips
California Labor Code §351 prohibits an employer or any of the employer’s agents from taking or sharing tips or gratuities left for an employee or group of employees. Tips and gratuities are the property of the employee or employees who received the tip. Additionally, it is illegal for an employer to include tips for wage deductions or use tips as a credit against a worker’s wages.
A tip is any money left by a customer for an employee above the amount owed for services or goods sold.
Tips also include any amount paid with a credit card that is designated as a tip or gratuity. An employer is required to pay tips left on a credit card to the employee no later than the next regular payday. Employers cannot deduct a credit card processing fee or a service charge from the amount of the tip paid to the employee.
Some states allow employers to credit tips toward the wages paid to employees. This process is called a tip credit. California laws prohibit tip credits. Employers are prohibited from counting tips toward the minimum wage rate they are required to pay employees or calculating overtime rates.
Is Tip Pooling Legal in California?
Employers cannot take tips for themselves, but they can require mandatory tip pools. However, some laws govern how tip pools are funded and distributed.
For a tip pool to be legal, the pools must:
- Only employees may participate in the tip pool
- Be funded with tips or gratuities paid to those employees
- Prohibit any funds from the tip pool from being paid to the employer, supervisor, manager, or any agent of the employer
There are a few exceptions to the above rules.
In some cases, a manager or supervisor might be included in the tip pool if the person spends most of their time performing the same services as other employees, and tips or gratuities are also intended for the supervisor or manager. The manager or supervisor must participate in the pool under the same conditions as the other employees.
For the tip pool to be legal, the distribution of tips must be reasonable and fair. Generally, an impartial system must be in place to determine how much of the tip pool is paid to each employee.
Most tip pools include employees in the chain of service. In other words, the employees provide services directly to the customers who leave the tips. However, tip pools can include employees who do not interact directly with customers but provide services that would be included in a tip.
Tip pools can be used for a variety of reasons. Pooling tips can compensate workers who are not in the chain of service but directly impact the level of service provided to customers. Tip pools may be used to offset differences in shifts or customers who might not tip or leave small tips.
What Can You Do if Your Employer Violates Laws Related to Tips and Gratuities?
Employers who violate tip and gratuity laws can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $1,000. They may also face 60 days in jail.
However, employees cannot sue their employers to recover unpaid tips. Instead, the Department of Industrial Relations enforces the Labor Code that deals with tips and gratuities.
Employees may have some options available to them. They may want to pursue a complaint with the Labor Commissioner or file a PAGA claim. They may also want to consider filing a conversion lawsuit or an Unfair Business Practices lawsuit.
Because this area of employment law can be very complicated, it is best to consult with an employment law attorney to review your options. An attorney can help you determine which option gives you the best chance of obtaining compensation for your damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our San Diego Tip Pooling Lawyers
It is not fair for your employer or other workers to take the tips that you earned. Tip pooling may be legal, but your employer must follow wage and hour laws.
Contact our law office to speak with a San Diego employment law attorney free of charge. Let’s work together to get the money you worked hard to earn.