Retaliation

When You Tip Your Waitress, Does She Get To Keep It?

OAKLAND, CA – The Labor Commissioner filed a lawsuit against Alameda Wine Company, LLC alleging that the wine bar and shop retaliated against an employee by firing her after she complained that the business was keeping half of her tips.

Tip law is more interesting than you might think. There is a Labor Code section that generally prohibits an employer from requiring employees pass their tips on to the employer. Requiring employees pool tips is ok, so long as the employer doesn’t benefit. If the wine bar was requiring the worker share her tips with them as alleged, then the wine bar may be in some trouble.

As an aside, “service charges” are not covered by this rule because service charges are required to be paid. The definition of a gratuity covered by the rule is that it was voluntarily paid. The practical/sad result is that waiters and waitresses that work at catered events often receive no tip/gratuity, the service charge required by the contract and legally the property of the employer.

For more information about tips and engaging the Labor Commission on your behalf, see: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/faq_tipsandgratuities.htm.

This blog reports on cases filed in and around the San Francisco Bay Area. The statements made are based on the allegations in court-filed documents. Allegations are just accusations, and may or may not be true.
The authors of the blog are attorneys at the San Francisco litigation firm, Wood Robbins, LLP. If you have a legal issue, send them an email. If they cannot help you, they will try and point you in the right direction.
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