Complete Labor Law Poster for $24.95
from, includes
State, Federal, & OSHA posting requirements


No announcement yet.

Illegal tip pooling in Michigan Michigan

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Illegal tip pooling in Michigan Michigan

    I have a question that needs to be addressed. I work at a shop that sells coffee. My coworkers and I are 'Baristas.' My employer claims to pay us all 5.50/hr since we are basically bartenders. All our tips are pooled into a jar, and at the end of the day one manager counts them all, and they are deposited into the company's savings account. The employer claims that then the tips are arbitrarily divided among everyone in the house according to the amount of hours worked. He claims he then uses those tips to offset the bartending wage (and bring us to minimum, or if a "manager" .60c more than everyone else). I work mornings by myself 5 days a week, with no reinforcement until the morning rush (whatever it may amount to,) has ceased. Those tips that I earn by myself are then divided in the manner I explained earlier. So often times half of the days gross tips were earned by one employee, but are split amongst anyone working that week. There is absolutely no documentation of "tips" or other compensation on our paystubs, and it merely states the hourly rate of the employee. How legal is this? It's definitely not ethical in my opinion. If you need any further information, I would be happy to provide it in a non-descript manner. It sincerely bothers me, I feel robbed.

  • #2
    Here is what I can find for MI wage laws on tipping: It is more about whether you are getting minimum wage plus overtime though rather than how the employer splits out the tip jar. But Michigan wage law does not address tip pooling or how they are allocated which means they have no laws that preclude what your employer is doing.

    Federally, here is what I found: "Many states allow employers to require tip pooling. All employees subject to the pool have to chip in a portion of their tips, which are then divided among a group of employees. An employee can't be required to pay more into the pool than is customary and reasonable, and the employee must be able to keep at least the full minimum wage (that is, the employee can't be required to pay any part of the tips the employer is counting towards the minimum wage into a tip pool). Only employees who regularly receive tips can be part of the pool. Employees can't be required to share their tips with employees who don't usually receive their own tips, like dishwashers or cooks. And no employers are allowed in the pool: Tips from a tip pool can't go to employers or, in some states, managers or supervisors."

    So while it might feel unfair to you, it is not illegal. And one could argue that since your working 5 days a week by yourself, that puts you with more hours and a larger piece of the tipping pool than someone working less hours. But yes, your tips based on this calculation also depend on the tips that others are getting (or not) while you are there since they are allocating them based on hours worked. They are making the assumption that the rate of tips are the same for all employees. It is possible that they came to this conclusion based on lots of prior experience in calculating tips or any other calculation might require multiple counts and accounting during the day that they just would rather not have to do.

    Have you spoken to your employer about your perspective?


    The forum is intended for informational use only and should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for legal advice. The information contained on are opinions and suggestions of members and is not a representation of the opinions of does not warrant or vouch for the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any postings or the qualifications of any person responding. Please consult a legal expert or seek the services of an attorney in your area for more accuracy on your specific situation.