I am a server in Missouri and have questions regarding tipping out and wages paid for nonserver work.


1. What are the laws reguarding tipping out? My employer requires I tip out a certain mandatory percentage to bussers (2%), food runners (1%), and bar (1.5%) out of my total food sales. (I am required to tip the bar out of total food sales even though the bartender has nothing to do with my food sales.) I am okay tipping out when its earned but my employer says that tipping out is mandatory. I feel that my employer is forcing me to compensate the busser's and bartender's wages through tip outs because they can. Tipping out takes 4.5% out of the tips I rightfully earned. It doesn't sound like a lot but that's a 1/4 of my tips. Is all this legal? Can they force me to tip out a set amount? If so, from what-total food sales or nonmoney tips or other?

2. Also, after we are 'cut' (taken off the rotation for serving), we are expected to do 'side work' (cleaning, restocking, rolling silverware, etc) for my employer/restaurant while not waiting tables. Sometimes this 'sidework' takes a couple of hours and I do it for $2.13/hour. I feel that I am being treated as 'slave' labor and being taken advantage of because my employer is only required to pay me $2.13 (I am earning no tips from waiting tables during this time). The required sidework is sometimes very lengthy and we even have to do the busser's sidework for $2.13/hr (the busser's are paid $5.15/hr plus tips from the servers (tip out for bussers is 2% out of the server's total food sales). Is this legal? Can my employer make me do nonserver work for them and only pay me server's wages for it? Is there a maximum amount of work that an employer/restaurant is allowed to require before they're guilty of taking advantage of the low wage labor for nonserver work? Or can they work us however long they want for however much they want?


Thank you for your help. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.