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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20366
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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I'm a server at a high end restaurant in Michigan, the company

Customer Question

I'm a server at a high end restaurant in Michigan, the company I work for is a large restaurant group. Last night my boss came and told me I had to tip out the bar more than I had already tipped them out. When I lived in Illinois, my tip share was automatically taken out by my company. When I moved to Michigan, I learned that tipping out was my responsibility and that my boss/company cannot tell me how to tip out. Furthermore, in all of my training books there is nothing stating standards of tipping (I assume because it's illegal in the state), and how I was informed of it was by others servers telling me how they tip out. From what I know of Michigan law, my boss cannot TELL ME to tip out another employee. I wanted to confirm this information was true, and where it is in Michigan law.
In addition, he threatened to write me up if I didn't give the bartenders more money, reprimanded and humiliated me in front of other employees, and threatened my income. I'm contacting human resources either way, but I wanted to know if the law was on my side.
Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello,Thank you for the information and your question. There is actually no law in Michigan that prohibits employer's from mandating tip pooling, so I am unsure where the information you have received comes from. The only law that does apply is Federal law, under the FLSA, that essentially allows employers to mandate tip pooling, but limits distribution to only those employees who are in jobs that traditionally receive tips. That, of course, would include bartenders. So, an employer in Michigan can indeed mandate tip pooling/sharing. You can see the Federal law on tip pooling by going to the following link: restatement of Michigan law, or lack of law, can be seen at: So, the law is not on your side in terms of tip pooling. However, you must, of course, still receive at least minimum wage after tip pooling and the employer should be clear on how the tip pooling process works. If they aren't, then that really isn't good management even if it isn't illegal. Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
From what I'm reading the, "However, an employer must notify its employees of any required tip pool contribution amount, may only take a tip credit for the amount of tips each employee ultimately receives, and may not retain any of the employee ultimately receives... (29 CFR 531.54)" Meaning, in some fashion I was to be informed of mandatory tip pooling by my employer, I should have been told who was being tipped out, and how much each person was to get tipped out.My employer has never laid out the requirements of tip pooling nor that it is required. I've checked my training books and the documents I signed at orientation. When I made it out of training I had to ask another server, Kristina, on how to do it right and what the percentages are. She is not a certified trainer (CTs work with management to train staff). . Since my employer did not inform me of such a requirement, he can't mandate a tip out at all, not even a higher one. Am I understanding this correctly?
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. Although it is true that an employee must be informed of the tip pooling process, there is no formal way in which an employer must do so. Therefore, at the point when your employer did inform you, even if only orally, that was your notice from that point forward. Again, not the best way to handle it, which would be in writing, but still lawful. Technically, the information should be provided before the tip pooling must begin, so you could speak to HR about that one day. But, again, once your boss did tell you of the requirements, from that point on, you were notified. I have never seen a restaurant that put tip pooling in their training books. The information is usually received verbally and from the floor manager or one of the other day to day managers. Not what I would recommend, but legal.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.
Hello again,I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any further follow up questions for me from the answers I provided to you on the 12th and 13th. For some reason, the Experts on the Site are not always getting replies, or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit(paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I have not received your rating.Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating,please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox. In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at: you.