Concerns About the California Tipped Employee Law?
Los Angeles Lawyer Defends Service Industry Workers
As a server, you work hard for your money, including your tips from customers. Your employer expects you to deliver consistent and excellent service to earn a living wage. Additionally, you expect your managers to support you, which includes fair distribution of tips. However, your employer knows that you need your job and may use this against you by denying you shifts if you bring a voice to the negligence. By understanding California tipped employee law, you can defend yourself and stand up for your rights.
You may suspect that you are a victim of tip abuse but may not know for sure. Through our experience in California wage and hour law, we can help you identify if you have been denied income. Through aggressive litigation we may be able to recover wrongfully withheld tips. Our Los Angeles law firm can also file a complaint with the labor commission on your behalf. We use every resource available to investigate unlawful business practices that effect a vulnerable minority.
Who Owns a Tip?
Section 351 of the labor code in California legislature exists to protect employees’ rights to their tips. Employers may not collect, take or receive any portion of a gratuity left for an employee by a customer. If your employer or manager has argued that they own part of your tip, then you may have an employment law case. Further protections exist in section 351 to define ownership. For example, an employer may not credit your tip against your wages as a way to gain ownership of a gratuity.
Defining what a “tip” means adds to the confusion of wage and hour law. In a voluntary tipping business, any cash amount above the charge for service is considered a tip. When paid with a credit card, a tip is defined by the customer on their bill. In California, your employer must give you the full listed credit card tip. However, if your employer has a mandatory service charge, then this is not considered a tip. Unfortunately, employees have limited legal right when an employer uses mandatory service charges.
Is Mandatory Tip Pooling Legal?
A group of employees may sometimes be required to pool together their tips by an employer. This practice is in place to give fairness to workers by having an equal distribution of tips. However, dishonest employers may use pooled tips as an opportunity to have cash exchange more hands. The more hands that touch the gratuity, the more opportunity there is for willing negligence. Additionally, this practice could be used to exclude other employees from fair wages. For example, tip pools usually do not include cooks, dishwashers, cashiers, or hosts and hostesses.
Additional rules exist to protect your rights if your tips are pooled. It is against California wage and hour law for your manager or supervisor dip into your pooled tips. Furthermore, distribution of tips or tip credit must be fair. While each business has their own system, in general, most of the tips go to the servers. Problems can arise under these systems when a customer at the bar waves down a server. Alternatively, a bartender may help a customer in a server’s section and receive a lower amount than they should. Your employer should have standards in place to deal with situations like these.
Is your employer denying you wages or tips? Has your employer changed their terms of service to include charges, resulting in you losing income? Concerned about pooled tips? Worried your employer is using unethical practices to deny you a fair wage? It can be easy to feel like a minority at your service job. Do not settle for less than you deserve. Our law firm can make sure you receive fair treatment according to California wage and hour law.
We believe in protecting the rights of employees. At Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. we review your situation and determine what actions should be taken. Through our counsel, we can protect your wages, overtime pay and tips. Do not feel marginalized by your employer’s unethical practices. We can let you know if you have a case at no cost through a free initial consultation. Call us today at (310) 997-4431 or contact us through our online form.
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