If a waitress has her unclaimed tips taken by her boss, is there anything she can do to stop it?

UPDATED: Dec 28, 2011

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If a waitress has her unclaimed tips taken by her boss, is there anything she can do to stop it?

The boss is the owner of the establishment and if the waitress makes anything over $10 the boss will take a portion of it. For example: waitress makes $12 and the boss takes $5. The reason the boss gives for taking the money is that she makes most of the food but the other cooks in the kitchen do not get any of the tips.

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Custom and practice in the restaurant industry is that "tips" short for "to ensure prompt service" belong to the waitress or waiter unless there is a written policy manual with the restaurant otherwise. In fact, the customer when he or she leaves a tip, leaves it for the person who has served him or her.

Some restaurants have a common tip jar where all waiters or waitresses pool there tips each night which is fine. Tips are not designed to be left for the owner of the establishment. In some states, a server is taxed upon expected tips whether received or not.

In your situation, if your employer has no policy in writing allowing him or her to take a portion of your tips, I would meet with your local labor department and speak with a representative there as to whether or not you have any recourse with an action under through the labor department.

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