If you’re working in the service industry, tips are critical to your income. What if your employer takes some of your hard-earned gratuities? This is unfair and frustrating. If you believe your boss is violating your employee tip rights, there are steps you can take to get the compensation you deserve. Don’t let your employer take advantage of your situation-read on to learn how to fight back and get the tips that are rightfully yours.
Know Your Rights
Under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), employers can pay tipped employees a lower minimum wage, but the employees’ tips combined with the wages should equal the federal minimum wage. As of 2023, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If you earn $2.13 per hour as cash wages, you must earn an additional $5.12 per hour in tips to meet the minimum wage requirement.
The federal and New Jersey laws prohibit your employer from taking a share of your tips, except in certain situations where a valid tip pool is in place. A tip pool is a system for employees to contribute a portion of their tips and share among a worker’s group. Your employer cannot participate in the tip pool, and participants must receive a notification to get a fair share.
Discuss the Issue with Your Employer
Schedule a private meeting with your employer to let them know your concerns. During the discussion, be clear and concise and state that you believe you aren’t getting all your tips and want to resolve the problem. Provide specific examples of instances you didn’t receive your tips and share documentation, such as tip amount records.
You can also consult with a wage and hour attorney for advice.
Take Appropriate Actions
If discussing with your employer isn’t helpful, you should consider other steps to solve the issue, including:
Keep a record of your tips: Keep a detailed record of the tips you receive each shift, including the amount and any deductions made. This will help you determine if your employer is pocketing a share of your tips.
Review your employer’s policies and procedures: Evaluate your employer’s policies and practices regarding tips to ensure they comply with federal and New Jersey laws. If you notice any discrepancies or violations, note them.
Speak to your co-workers: Talk to colleagues to see if they have also experienced issues with their tips. If multiple employees have the same problem, it can strengthen your case and make your employer take action.
Consult with an employment law attorney: Seek legal advice from a reputable employment law attorney to understand your rights and options.
File a complaint: If you believe your employer is pocketing your tips illegally, you can file a complaint with the appropriate government agency.
Fight for Your Employee Tips Rights Today
Your employee tips are a valuable income source, and you have the right to receive them in full. Follow the tips outlined in this article and take proactive steps to address the issue for fair compensation. Don’t forget to consult an attorney at McOmber McOmber & Luber to guide you throughout the process.