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Joseph, Lawyer
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 5299
Experience:  Extensive experience representing employees and management
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i work for a restaurant as a waitress. I know my employer can

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i work for a restaurant as a waitress. I know my employer can require us to pool and share tips with staff, but are they allowed to tell us how much to give and what do i do if i feel the percentage is unfair?
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer,

My name isXXXXX am a licensed attorney, and my goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

To clarify, are you being required to share your tips with members of the staff who don't customarily receive tips, like dishwashers and cooks?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

we share our tips with cooks, bussers, dishwashers and the host. its not that i dont want to share tips, its more a matter of what rights do i have in the percentage. can my boss tell me what percentage to tip?

Hello Jo,

In California (and other states that allow for tip pooling), it is illegal for you to share your tips with anyone who doesn't normally receive tips for their services and/or those who aren't in the direct chain of service to the customer. That basically means that your employer's arrangement is illegal.

If your employer wants to make wages more fair, they can slightly raise what they pay these other workers hourly and slightly lower what waitresses earn, but is only legal to require tip pooling with employees who also can receive tips. (I could see that argument being made for the bussers and host, but not cooks and dishwashers).

You can file a complaint against your employer for violating the Labor Code with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement of the Department of Industrial Relations.

You can find the closest one to you here:

For more information see here:

I hope the above information is helpful.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

when does kitchen staff constitute "direct chain of service to the customer"?. that line makes me nervous about filing a complaint. and is the dishwasher ALSO considered part of that chain of service or is it also illegal to tip him out? I'm very invested in this job so i need to be very careful and precise about my rights when i bring the issue to management. thank you

That line means direct 'table service.' So it can only include hosts and busboy/girls. Dishwashers and cooks cannot be included.

The DLSE has further opined that “such employees could conceivably include waiters and waitresses, busboys, bartenders, host/hostesses and maitre d’s” but that employees who do not provide direct table service (such as dishwashers, cooks, and chefs -- except in restaurants where the chefs prepare the food at the patron’s table) are not allowed to be included in the tip pooling arrangement.

See here:

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