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Restaurant Operations: Who Can Swim In The Tip Pool?

By Michael Mitchell

Another limitation is that tipped employees cannot be required to share their tips with workers who do not customarily and regularly receive tips. The U.S. Wage and Hour Division has said that wait-staff, bellhops, counter personnel who serve customers, bus employees, and service bartenders are among the kinds of employees who are permissible pool participants. But the Division has also taken the position that dishwashers, cooks, janitors, and laundry-room attendants are not the kinds of employees who can be permitted to participate in tip-pooling arrangements.

Sometimes tipped employees decide on their own to share their tips with coworkers who are not tipped employees and who do not participate in a tip pool. Or, tipped employees might voluntarily decide to share a larger proportion of their tips than their employer could require them to contribute to a tip pool. If they do this freely, not under any formal arrangement, and independently of and without any pressure or coercion from their employer, then this does not invalidate the tip credit or a tip pool. However, you cannot use any of those pooled tips to cover any tip credit.

This was excerpted from Michael's full article "Tip Pooling: Are You Doing It Right?". Click here to read the full article...

Michael Mitchell is a lawyer with Fisher & Phillips LLP, a nationally recognized firm representing management in labor and employment matters. He can be reached at 504-529-3830 and mmitchell@laborlawyers.com. This information provided is general and educational and not legal advice.


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  • Shark Bait, Dipping a Toe Into The Tip Pool
  • Changing to a Tip Sharing Pool
  • What Employers Need to Know About Tip Reporting
  • Is $2.13 An Hour Enough? Higher State Minimum Wage Rates Impact Tip Credit

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