Houston Lawyers for Tip Pool Violations
Employment Lawyers Holding Employers Responsible for Tip Pool Violations
At the law office of Shellist Lazarz Slobin, our Houston tip pool violation attorneys hold employers financially liable for tipping pool violations in Texas. If you believe your employer wrongfully distributes proceeds from a tip pool to non-tipped employees or themselves, contact tip pool violations lawyers at Shellist Lazarz Slobin today. A Houston employment lawyer from our firm can answer those questions.
Tip Pool Distribution
Working as a tipped employee has its perks, but dealing with a tip pool can be extremely challenging. Tip pools are not always handled in the most professional manner, either because employers aren’t aware of the proper protocol or they simply chose to ignore the rules in favor of their own system. When tips are gathered together and distributed unfairly, it can result in major issues, including loss of wages.
If you think you may be the victim of tip pool violations, find out how to identify the issue and discover what you can do to protect your rights.
Wage Requirements for Tipped Employees
As a rule, all workers must be paid the federal minimum wage, unless those employees are tipped. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, employees are legally allowed to pay their employees less than minimum wage if the employees receive tips from customers in return for the service they provide. Some examples of tipped employees include restaurant servers, bellhops, bartenders, and furniture movers.
The FLSA established a federal minimum wage that must be complied with even if individual states do not have a minimum wage law. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. However, an employer can pay an employee less than the minimum wage if the employee is a “tipped employee”—someone who receives tips from patrons in return for a service they provide.
In order to comply with FLSA requirements, employers must tell servers tips will be used to meet minimum wage requirements. Additionally, a server must regularly earn at least $30 per month in tips. Lastly, servers must be allowed to keep all of their tips, unless there is a tip pool for other tipped employees. When employers use a tip pool to pay non-tipped employees or when they take tips for themselves, they are in violation of FLSA requirements and liable for damages.
What are Tip Pool Violations?
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) aims to protect restaurant workers from wage violations, but these regulations aren’t always enough to keep employers accountable. If you think you may be a victim of tip pool violations in a restaurant job, make sure you know your rights.
Tipping violations may seem minor, but they can drastically affect the income of employees who rely on tips as their main source of income. In addition to unfair tip distribution, employers can commit other tip violations that could impact employees. Employers are not allowed to use tips to bring their employee’s overall earnings up to minimum wage, nor can they distribute tips to themselves or any other employees in managing roles.
Tipping Pool Laws in Texas
According to the FLSA, employers may legally gather the tips of tipped employees to distribute via a tipping pool. Additionally, the law permits employers to pay employees less than minimum wage, so long as the employees are tipped enough to meet minimum wage. The FLSA has several rules in place to protect the rights of employees who rely on tips to earn a fair living.
Tipped employees are not to share their earnings with non-tipped workers. Common examples of tipped employees include servers, bussers, bellhops, concierge workers, bartenders, and movers. Any worker who receives minimum wage, does not rely on tips, and has no interaction with the customers should not be involved in the tipping pool. Managers, supervisors, and other similar roles are also exempt from the tipping pool. If your tips are distributed to any of these positions, you could be the victim of a tipping pool violation.
The Houston employment attorneys of Shellist Lazarz Slobin have ample experience fighting for the rights of restaurant workers, and our firm is currently investigating potential violations at restaurants under Landry’s Inc., Brinker International, and Lettuce Entertain Your Restaurant groups. If you think you may have an employment law case based in tipping violations, our Houston employment lawyers are prepared to help determine whether you have grounds for legal action.
How Should Tips Be Distributed?
In many restaurants, hotels, and other workplaces where tipping is common, tips may be pooled so that they can be redistributed among the applicable employees. However, in this situation, not all employees may be legally eligible to receive a portion of the tips. According to the current wage laws, the tip pool should only be shared with employees who have direct interaction with the customers. Other employees who do not face the customers are not eligible to receive tips, and if they are tipped, their share takes away from the portion client-facing employees have fairly earned.
How Do I Know If There Are Tip Pool Violations Where I Work?
In general, a non-tipped employee is someone who is paid at least minimum wage and does not interact with customers—for example, a cook, dishwasher, or delivery personnel.
Examples of tipped employees include:
- Waiters / waitresses
- Food preparers at a sandwich or deli store
- Grocery baggers
- Bus employees
If your employer has a tip pool and shares proceeds from it with employees who do not have direct interaction with customers, he or she may be in violation of wage laws. Further, any manager or employee that has the power to hire or fire others, determine employee pay, administer employee records, or supervise scheduling should not qualify for tips. Additionally, when an employer pays a non-tipped employee less than minimum wage and uses the tip pool to bring him or her up to minimum wage, a tip pool violation has occurred.
What Should I Do if I Think There Are Tip Pool Violations?
If you believe your employer is breaking wage laws through violation of tip pools, contact the Texas tip pool violation attorneys at Shellist Lazarz Slobin today. We can evaluate your case and discuss how best to proceed in order to protect your job and your pay. If you confront your employer first without understanding what the law says and what your protections are, you could lose your job and any chance of documenting tip pool violations.
Call Shellist Lazarz Slobin at (713) 352-3433 to arrange a consultation.