What are my rights if my wages were not paid and my tips were taken for a dine and dash?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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What are my rights if my wages were not paid and my tips were taken for a dine and dash?

I have not received a paycheck in 2 1/2 months for my servers wages of $2.13. I was told if I make over the $7.25 state minimum wage in tips, that they didn’t have to pay me my $2.13 minimum server wage. Also, if our establishment has a dine and dash the owners make the server pay that ticket out of their tips that night. Is that legal?

Asked on August 16, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) The minimum server wage IS the minimum server wage: you have to be paid at least that no matter how much you make in tips. You could be in a fancy high-end stake house and make $50/hour in tips and they still need to pay your minimum server wage.
2) No, they cannot take your tips (or wages, for that matter) for a dine-and-dash. Without an employment contract, you are an "employee at will" and they could choose to suspend or fire you for a dine and dash--but must pay you for all work you did, including your share of the tips, up to that moment.
You should contact the state department of labor: you appear to have a claim for the unpaid server wage and for any tips improperly taken.

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