Can I file wage and hour claims for required tip pooling?

On Behalf of | Jul 11, 2019 | Wage And Hour Claims |

In Kentucky, there are many reasons for workers to file wage and hour claims. It can happen in jobs where people earn salaries, make commissions or work hourly. For those who are in the service industry and rely on tips, there are certain issues that will frequently arise and negatively impact their take-home pay. In some cases, the employer is committing violations and workers are unsure of how to go about putting a stop to it. With workers for whom the bulk of their salary comes from tips, there is often a fear of the idea of “tip pooling” when it is forced by the employer. It is important to know the state law for this, so you can seek justice if illegal behavior is occurring.

When employees are working for tips (gratuities), they are not required to hand them over to the employer in full or in part, except so there can be withholding due to the law. If it is for legal withholding, it cannot go beyond the amount the law says should be withheld. A tip is a voluntary bonus given to a worker by a customer, guest or patron. If there is a pool arrangement among the workers, the employer cannot order it nor can an employee be required to take part.

If an employee decides to take part in an agreement to divide tips, this is legal. The employer does have the right to inform employees that such a pool exists and that this is the way in which some employees split the proceeds. The employer can provide a safekeeping service for money put into the employee tip pool, but it must be in an identified account that is separate from basic business records. Those who wish to examine the pool can do so.

Tips are often the lifeblood of the service industry. Some employers will try to take a part of that or imply that it must be shared or the employee runs the risk of losing the job. This is illegal and workers who are dealing with this type of treatment have the right to put a stop to it and seek compensation. Understanding when one can pursue wage and hour claims can help with these disputes and allow a worker to get and keep the maximum of tips under the law.

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