There are many myths and misconceptions about employment law. Many employees think they can only be fired for cause. Many employers think they are within the law to offer employees “comp” time instead of paying overtime. Both would be wrong. Employment attorneys Valerie Roach and Tim Walsh know California employment law and can advise and guide each client to the best solution for that client’s employment law problems. Whether you are seeking advice and counsel to avoid potential problems in an employment relationship or tough legal representation to fight for your rights after an employment dispute has occurred, an employment lawyer at Walsh & Roach LLP is there to help clients with employment law needs in Santa Cruz, Watsonville, Salinas, Monterey, Hollister and the surrounding area. Call an employment attorney at Walsh & Roach LLP with your questions about wage and hour violations, wrongful termination or discrimination lawsuits for a free consultation today.
Valerie M. Roach
Tips can make up the better part of a waiter or waitress’s wages, but employment practices around tipping can also provide opportunities for an unscrupulous employer to literally “cash in” on an employee’s rightful earnings. The following are a few rules that California restaurant owners and employees should know about tipping.
The basic rule in California is that gratuities given to or left for a server by a customer belong solely to the employee or employees to whom the tip was paid. An employer is not permitted to share in any tips left for employees or to deduct wages from the employee’s paycheck because of those tips. Tips are not considered wages and cannot be used to make up the minimum wage or to compensate for overtime wages due.
California employers who permit customers to leave tips on a credit card must pay employees the full amount of the tip left by the customer. They are not permitted to deduct the cost of running the credit card from the tip. The tips must be paid to the employee no later than the next regular payday after the date the customer authorized the credit card charge.
Tip pooling arrangements are permitted where the employees benefitting from the tip pool are in the “chain of service.” Commonly, this involves a percentage deduction from tips to table servers which is then distributed to bussers, bartenders, or hosts, but a recent court decision would include cooks and dishwashers in the “chain of service.” While the law on distributing tips to those who do not directly serve is not yet entirely clear, it is clear that restaurant owners and their agents cannot benefit from tip pooling, even when they also provide direct table service.
The preceding is a brief summary of the tipping laws in California and is not intended as legal advice. Restaurant owners or employees with questions about tipping practices should consult legal counsel with experience in counseling clients in employment law matters. Tim Walsh and Valerie Roach are experienced attorneys who can provide advice on wage and hour law. Call for a consultation at 831-728-3500.