What are the laws regarding pooled tips?

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What are the laws regarding pooled tips?

My boyfriend works at a restaurant that pools tips and every week he gets a check for the same amount. I have worked in restaurants myself and as a former server I know for a fact that this is inconsistent with the nature of the industry. What can be done to ensure he gets paid fairly? In CT.

Asked on November 19, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Connecticut

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is no CT law on tip pooling. Therefore, federal law controls; specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FSLA").

The FLSA permits the pooling of tips. In fact, an employer can require employees to do so; they can also determine tip-pooling arrangements among employees in the tip pool.

There are 2 exceptions:

  1. A tip pooling arrangement is invalid if an employee must forfeit more than a “customary and reasonable” amount of tips to the pool (although there is no ceiling on the amount of tips contributed to a pool); and
  2. Only employees who customarily and regularly receive tips can participate in such a pool (e.g. waiter, bellhop, busboy, counter personnel, hostesses and/or a service bartender); employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips cannot participate (e.g. janitor, dishwasher, chef, cook and/or laundry room attendant). Additionally, an employer cannot participate in a tip pool. 

At this point, if your boyfriend think that his rights are being violated, he can contact CT's department of labor and/or an employment law attorney in his area.


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