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Can employers keep part of the money from a tip pooling arrangement? Ohio

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  • Can employers keep part of the money from a tip pooling arrangement? Ohio

    With the new minimum wage increase here in Ohio, our restaurant employer has decided to engage us in tip pooling. They claim they need to keep track of the tips our bussers earn. Fine....except our employer is keeping part of the tips. Altogether, we must give the equivalent of 3% of our sales (sales = $300.00, we hand over $9.00 out of our tips). They distribute as follows: 1% to the bartender, and 1% to the busser and 1% to the house. Keep in mind that these were voluntary tips left by customers. Is it legal for our employer to keep the 1%? One percent may not be alot, but when you add it all together, it could equal $100.00 each month that we feel is rightfully ours.

    In several cases, we would rather see the bartenders get 1% and the bussers the full 2%. But that is not happening either.

    Please offer any advice you might have. Thank you!


  • #2
    Nope. The "house" cannot keep a portion of a tip pool.
    See Retention of Tips and Tip Pooling here.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3
      I was fine with the arrangement until I saw the part about the "house" keeping some.

      Nope, not legal.
      Senior Professional in Human Resources and Certified Staffing Professional with over 30 years experience. Any advice provided is based upon experience and education, but does not constitute legal advice.


      • #4
        Can an employer spend part of the money from a tip pool?

        While it has been suggested that an employer cannot keep part of the money from a tip pool, please explain why an employer is allowed to spend the money from a tip pool?

        My point is, when an employer requires tip pooling, he must decides both who will receive a share of the tips and what amount they will receive. Isn't an employer who determines who will receive money and what amount they will receive spending the money?

        The way our laws currently stand, an employer can't keep a portion of the tip pool funds for himself but he can spend the money as if it belongs to him.

        I don't get it.

        While the DOL states that the law forbids any arrangement between the exployer and the tipped employee whereby any part of the tip becomes the property of the employer, I am supposed to believe it's ok for employers to spend the money collected from a tip pool by determining who will receive a share of the pooled funds and by determining what percentage each will receive from the pool.

        The fact of the matter is, neither federal laws, federal regulations or DOL opinions actually state that employers are allowed to require tip pooling. Only judges have stated such. Of course, while judges continue to rule that employers are not prohibited from requiring tip pooling, these same judges refuse to clarify exactly who can be included in the pool and how much each participant should receive from the pool.

        If it is true that tip pooling must be allowed because other workers contribute to the service of the customer, then why aren't these judges who rule in such a manner clarifying what portion each type of worker should be entitled to. Why do they simply leave such determinations up to the employer. If tips are supposed to be shared among those who provide service to the customer, then shouldn't there be some kind of formula so employer won't simply be able to spend the money as if it belongs to them.

        The way I see it is, judges simply want emplyers to be able to spend the tips however they want. While the courts have suggested that tip pooling is about fairness, they refuse to explain the details of how this fairness should be divided up. What percentage should the busboy receive. What percentage should the runner receive, what percentage should the cook receive, what percentage should the hostess receive.

        But most importantly, why arent' the courts ruling that the customer, rather than an employer, should be deciding who will receive a tip and what amount that particular employee should receive?


        • #5
          This thread is three years old, and I think I can speak for everyone when I tell you that we are all sick to death of you and your agenda.

          The next time I see you open up a dead thread to push this agenda, your membership on this site will be revoked. In fact, the next time I see you on this board pushing your agenda about tip pooling, your membership will be revoked.

          For the last time, if you object to the way the tip pooling laws are written in this country, take it up with your elected representatives. The responders on this and every other message board where I've seen you are unable to change the law (even in the unlikely event that you were able to convert everyone to your point of view). So arguing the point with us does you no good and only serves to annoy everyone.
          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.