Unlawful Tip Pooling
A tip pool consists of the amount of funds and gratuities that employees collect. Most commonly used in the customer service sector, a tip pool can be either voluntary or mandatory. In many cases, an employer uses a tip pool in order to redistribute tips and gratuities to employees who might not otherwise obtain the benefit, like a restaurant host or a busboy. Unfortunately, many employers abuse tip pooling laws in an attempt to cut their employees’ wages short and put more money in their pockets. At Phillips & Associates, our wage violations lawyers can help individuals in New York City bring a claim against an employer to pursue the compensation that they deserve.Unlawful Practices in Tip Pooling
Under New York State Law, tip pooling is defined as “the practice by which the tip earnings of directly tipped employees are intermingled in a common pool and then redistributed among directly and indirectly tipped employees.” New York law prohibits an employer from participating in tip pools. More specifically, the law prohibits employers from taking or trying to take any part of the tips that an employee gets, or of any charge that is purported to be a tip.
In making the determination of whether an employee is eligible to participate in a tip pooling arrangement, the employee must examine his or her duties instead of the person’s title. For example, to be eligible, the employee must regularly engage in job duties that involve providing or helping to provide personal services to the employer’s customers. The personal services component cannot be merely an incidental element of the individual’s job duties. Types of employees who commonly would be found eligible for participation include bartenders, bar backs, food runners, captains, servers, counter staff, wait staff, and hosts who greet guests.
In 2011, New York’s State Department of Labor enacted the Hospitality Industry Wage Order, which provides employees with a new way to bring an action against employers that violate these tip pooling regulations. The law also provides limitations on the amount of a tip credit that an employer can apply towards its minimum wage responsibilities for each employee. The law allows an employer to apply a certain amount of an employee’s tips to that person’s hourly wage. Some employers try to take advantage of employees by exceeding the amount of tip credit that they can apply to an employee’s minimum hourly wage, or substituting gratuities for minimum wage altogether.Enlist a New York City Lawyer to Assert Your Rights against an Employer
You should not let your employer take more of your hard-earned money than it is entitled to receive. At Phillips & Associates, our attorneys are familiar with wage and hour as well as overtime disputes. We can assist employees throughout New York City, including in Queens, the Bronx, and Brooklyn. Our team of legal professionals can guide you through every step of the process and help you build the evidence you need to make your claim. If you think your employer is not adhering to applicable tip pooling laws, it is important to collect any documentation that you can. We offer a free consultation, so you have nothing to lose. Call us at (833) 529-3476 or contact us online to set up a meeting with us.