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.


My Employer Fired Me While I Was On A Leave Of Absence!

September 20, 2012

Can an employer fire an employee who is out on a leave of absence? The answer is a qualified “Yes.” But the bottom line is that firing an employee on a leave of absence always exposes the employer to the risk of a wrongful termination claim. The first question is what kind of leave the [...]

Read the full article →

What Can The Employer Ask During A Job Interview?

August 14, 2012

A couple of years ago, Joe was arrested and convicted of assault after a brawl in a bar.  Tanya is a lesbian and lives with her partner, Mary.  Tony had just turned sixty-six when he was just laid off from his job. All of these people need and want to work, and all have good [...]

Read the full article →

What are my rights for paid time off when my child is sick?

June 7, 2012

A child’s illness can be doubly stressful for working parents when the parents are unsure about their employer’s policy on taking time off to care for a kid home sick. A parent’s right to take paid time off to care for a sick child depends first and foremost on whether the employer provides for paid [...]

Read the full article →

When “I quit!” really means “You’re fired!”

May 14, 2012

Joe’s boss became increasingly irritated after Joe injured himself on the job and began to take time off for physical therapy, but the boss didn’t want to fire him. After all, he would have to pay unemployment and maybe face a lawsuit on top of it. So, in an effort to get Joe to quit, [...]

Read the full article →

What Employees and Employers Must Know About Sexual Harassment

May 2, 2012

Should an employee complain or not complain to the employer about sexual harassment at work? It’s a good question. Obviously, if the employee does not complain, the harassment will continue. Short of finding a new job, the employee is doomed to endure a stressful and unpleasant work environment. But the sad truth is, any employee [...]

Read the full article →

Employers Beware! That Salaried Employee May Be Entitled To Overtime

April 18, 2012

Some employers think that they can insulate themselves from paying their workers overtime by putting them on salaries instead of hourly pay. But this is a risky practice at best, since an employee’s right to overtime pay is not determined by whether that employee is “salaried” or “hourly.” It is determined by whether the employee [...]

Read the full article →

Asleep On The Job?

April 11, 2012

When the stress of modern life piles up, it may be tempting for an employee to catch a few zz’s on the job, especially on the night shift when it seems that no one else is around. But sleeping on the job when the worker should have been performing duties is a serious matter, and [...]

Read the full article →

Unpaid Leave For Personal Or Family Medical Conditions: Employee Rights, Employer Responsibilities

April 4, 2012

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) gives employees an opportunity to take leave from work for certain personal or family medical reasons without jeopardizing job security. Generally, the CFRA makes it an unlawful employment practice for an employer of 50 or more persons to refuse to grant a request by an employee to take up [...]

Read the full article →

Harassed At Work?

March 27, 2012

Jasmine felt a knot in her stomach when she saw her boss approach. What would he say this time? Another comment on her clothes or hair? Another remark about her lucky boyfriend? Another “playful” invitation for a drink? Her gut told Jasmine this was sexual harassment and she should act to stop it, but she [...]

Read the full article →