Waitress receives $4400 in tips but gets FIRED after she resisted sharing them. Is that legal?


It depends.  ‘¯\_(ツ)_/¯’

What happened?

According to the British Tabloids, several people dining together contributed $100 each following dinner at a restaurant for the two waitresses who served the group. The tips totaled $4,400.

Apparently, one of the diners envisioned having a “$100 club” during the pandemic and called the restaurant ahead of the outing to confirm servers didn’t share tips. According to the report, the restaurant confirmed that employees do not share tips.

And it may technically be true for the restaurant to confirm that the waitstaff does not “share” tips. Except, the restaurant seemingly had a tip pool.

Tip pooling and tip sharing are not the same.

A tip pool is the exception to the Fair Labor Standards Act rule that tipped employees get to keep their tips. It’s an arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel (who serve customers), bussers, and service bartenders to split them. A valid tip pool may not include employees who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs, janitors, supervisors, owners, etc.

Tip sharing, on the other hand, can include sharing tips with non-tipped employees.

The two waitresses here had to pool their tips with other tipped employees. And a few days later, the waitress was fired for “violating” the restaurant’s rules, according to the report.

Was the restaurant allowed to fire the waitress?

Well, sure, as long it fired her for violating work rules or any other reason unrelated to any good-faith complaint she may have lodged about the restaurant’s pay practices. Otherwise, the server may have an FLSA retaliation claim. Damages for FLSA retaliation include reinstatement, lost wages, an additional equal amount as liquidated damages, plus attorney’s fees and costs.

But this has a happy ending.

According to the report, a GoFundMe for the waitress raised over $8,000, and she found a new job soon after that.





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