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Is my employer allowed to take my tips? Connecticut

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  • Is my employer allowed to take my tips? Connecticut

    I work at a restaurant in New Haven, CT. I am the only server there, except for the owner, who serves a few tables upstairs. When I was hired, he told me that credit card tips from customers would be paid to me at the end of the week, in my paycheck, and I was ok with that and I agreed to it....I added up my tips for the week to 250$, but when I got my check, it was for 196$. I asked him to please explain, and I was told that we have a "tip-pool" and that he is taking 50% of my tips. He told me that my base pay was 96$, and he gave me 100$ for my tips, and he took 100$. I work very, very hard for my money, and the reason that waitstaff is paid 5 dollars an hour, is because we work for tips. Is what my boss doing even legal? I work every day, and every day he takes 50% of my tips.

    His reasoning was that, 1) He pays someone to clean up and 2) It costs money to run a credit card through every time he runs one 3) He makes my drinks, Sodas, and Waters, and 4) We use a dumb-waiter syster/ or a "Lift" and so I only have to place orders, send them up on the dumb waiter, and serve them, so I dont deserve all of the tips. and so If i make 100$, I take home 50$ Please help me..

  • #2
    I am including a pointer to the federal tips factsheet. You need to carefully read the entire factsheet. Anyone who works for tips needs to be familar with these rules.
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15.htm

    Part of what you describe is legal and part of what you describe is not. You need to be clear in your mind exactly what the rules are (and are not) and restate your question against the actual rules. For example, tips pool may be legal, but only if done correctly. There are specific handling rules on credit card tips. Also rules on other things. You have everything sort of all mixed together, trying to treat everything as illegal, when everything is not illegal. Only parts of it.

    While the federal rules are valid everywhere in the US, some states have their own rules in addition to the federal rules. CT is one of those states. You also need to read the CT rules.
    http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm#Connecticut
    Last edited by DAW; 09-11-2011, 10:49 PM.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      I already looked at both of those sites, they dont really answer my questions. I know that you said that kinda I put all of his rules together and I seemed to be confused, but this is EXACTLY what my boss told me. He is Vietnamese, and so maybe he is not wording it properly, because of the language barrier? but before I go to work and complain to him, I need to know what is legal and whats not.

      HE IS TAKING 50 PERCENT OF MY TIPS...What should I do??

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      • #4
        File a wage claim with federal or state DOL. It works or it does not.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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        • #5
          Info on filing a wage claim Ct:

          http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstn...s/wca1intr.htm
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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          • #6
            Employer-Owner Could Not Share in Employee Tip Pool Under FLSA

            Here is a link on the federal view...

            http://flsaovertimelaw.com/2011/03/2...ng-activities/
            ========================================

            "A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The 'United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'" (Author unknown)

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            • #7
              so what should i do?

              The issue is that I need the job, and so I cant really go in to work and tell him that unless he pays me my tips I can no longer work for him, and I do not really want to stir up a huge problem while I still am working for him.

              I just wanted to know if what he is doing is legal, and if I have any right to tell him that I want 100% of my tips, and that what he is doing is unfair, and illegal.

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              • #8
                I'm having a psychic premonition that a certain LLT member will be here soon to chime in on the legality of tip pools..........

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                • #9
                  well i need the information NOW

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                  • #10
                    We're not talking about you.

                    But if you need an answer NOW, you might want to contact the DOL. This is a volunteer board; we only have so much time to research answers for you; we cannot give you specific legal advice but only general information.

                    I don't think anyone can give you anything more specific than we already have.
                    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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                    • #11
                      sorry. thanks.

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                      • #12
                        The owner is prohibited from retaining any of the tips

                        I do not understand,what help you want. My link directs you to the conclusion that employer cannotparticipate in tips, under federal rules. The next move is on you, contact thelocal US Labor Dept-Wage Hour Division, or leave that job and start looking for a better employer. I understand that under current economic conditions, the job choice is not an easy one.

                        Keep in mind that although a US Labor Dept-Wage Hour Division is confidential, ie; the complainants’ name is never disclose, as the only server, your employer can easily put one and one together and may implied that the US Labor Dept-Wage Hour Division investigation may have been instigated by you. This can create unnecessary problems on you.

                        I do not understand,what help you want. My link directs you to the conclusion that employer cannotparticipate in tips, under federal rules. The next move is on you, contact thelocal US Labor Dept-Wage Hour Division, or leave that job and start looking for a better employer. I understand that under current economic conditions, the job choice is not an easy one.

                        Keep inmind that although a US Labor Dept-Wage Hour Division is confidential, ie; the complainants’name is never disclose, as the only server, your employer can easily put oneand one together may implied that the US Labor Dept-Wage Hour Division investigationmay have been instigated by you. This can create unnecessary problems on you.

                        Just for your information;

                        The requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as you in this instance. Tipped employees may not be required to share their tips with employees who have not customarily and regularly participated in tip pooling arrangements, such as dishwashers, janitors and management. Tipped employees cannot be required to contribute a greater percentage of their tips than is customary and reasonable. Violations of the rules pertaining to tip pools will render the entire tip pool invalid and typically results in minimum wage violation.

                        Tipped employees may not be compelled to pool tips among employees who do not normally receive tips, including the owner. The basic rule of tips is that tips belong to employees, not the employer. Employees can't be required to give their tips or any part of them to the employer, except as part of a valid tip pooling arrangement and even then, the tip pool must be divided only among certain other tipped employees. The employer, owner and management can't be part of the pool.

                        The owner is prohibited from retaining any of the tips from the tip pool while simultaneously taking a tip credit. The credit allows him to pay tipped employees less than the applicable minimum wage as long as their tips make up the difference between the cash wage rate and the full minimum wage. 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.

                        Hope this helps...





                        Last edited by ArmyRetCW3; 09-13-2011, 05:29 PM.
                        ========================================

                        "A veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard, or reserve - is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to The 'United States of America', for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'" (Author unknown)

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