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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 114795
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I work part time on a golf course with restaurant & lounge.

Customer Question

I work part time on a golf course with restaurant & lounge. We servers take an occasional turn tending bar. My wage is $6.30-not minimum wage of $7.25. When you bartend, you are suppose to get $1 more than servers. Everybody used to pool tips and supposed to be an equal split. However, now we are to keep our own and tip the bartender, who is also to keep her own tips.
JA: Got it. The Employment Lawyer will know how to help you. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: No. Wednesday 4 pm when I started my job, no bartender then. So, I was bartender until the designated gal showed up about 5:30 or so, a half hour late. I had customers at the bar and once she came, I got none of the tips they had all ready down. I was not aware of the new bartender tipping policy of 10% of cash tips--not credit card or member card tips, until about 8 pm when the restaurant manager tells me that I am to tip her out.
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Employment Lawyer can help you best. Is there anything else important you think the Employment Lawyer should know?
Customer: I refused. She comes in late, does not set up the bar, does not stock the bar, does not carry out the empty bottles, etc.--minimum work and not a team player. She makes mountains out of molehills in a very loud voice. She complains about other staff at the bar in front of customers. She is a narcissistic abuser and in order to get along with her, we try to go along with her. However, I have had enough. If she did her job completely, PERHAPS I would feel like tipping her out on a percentage of the liquor sales, but certainly not on food sales. By management stating that we are expected to tip out of our cash tips, that sets us up for immediate conflict with her. When she comes on duty, we are not suppose to cash out our own chits, before she is on duty, we can. She took her typical 3 smoke breaks during her shift--and then we are supposed to cash out our own chits, she says. The rest of us do not smoke and do not take smoke breaks. She is paid on these breaks of 15 min-30 min.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Employment Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
I am afraid that you have a bad employer situation, because they are enabling a bad employee, but not violating the law. The US Department of Labor rules state the requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel (who serve customers), bussers, and service bartenders. A valid tip pool may not include employees who do not customarily and regularly received tips.
The employer must notify all employees of any tip pool IN ADVANCE OF THE EMPLOYEE WORKING. So if your employer did not notify you in advance then you have a legal basis to complain.
As far as this bad employee, being a bad employee does not mean she is not entitled to participate in the tip pool, it means that the manager has some relationship with her to allow that type of behavior or that no customers have complained about her to the club board to have her removed for the conduct you describe.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
She has relationship with one of the board members. She has had coworkers complain.
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
My time is up now and this situation will be changed within the,next 3 weeks as I will look for other employment.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 11 months ago.
Thank you for your reply.
Having been involved in these situations many times, I figured she was doing someone on the board or in management, that is the only reason that behavior is allowed.
You can file the pool tipped complaint though with the US Department of Labor and they will come in and investigate the employer, especially if you have not been given advance notice of the new policy before you started working.