Is it legal for me to be forced to contribute 100% of my tips to a tip pool that includes kitchen staff and management?

UPDATED: Apr 4, 2012

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Is it legal for me to be forced to contribute 100% of my tips to a tip pool that includes kitchen staff and management?

They pay the kitchen staff $6 an hour because we the servers pay them the rest. They generate no tips. The manager is tipped in on a regular basis so they can cover shifts when people quit, there are large events or parties. I have 11 years experience, I get $1 more per hr than someone with no experience. How is this legal?

Asked on April 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Iowa


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not the tip situation at work is legal or not depends upon what the presumed employee employer manual states. If there is such a manual, I suggest that you carefully read it for information concerning the tip situation. If there is reference in this manual to your question, the manual's terms should govern your question.

If not, then custom and practice of what has been happening regarding the tip situation with respect to pooling over the past year or so would dictate how the tips are to be divided at the restaurant that you are working at.

Your other option would be to consult with an attorney that practices in the area of employment law regarding your question.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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