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Can your manager take your tips?

You work at a bar or a restaurant, where you and the rest of the waitstaff have a manager who directs you on a daily basis. You’re paid hourly and you get tips, while your manager is on a salary and is never directly given tips since they don’t serve tables. 

Your manager is displeased with this after seeing the large tips you and your other waiters and waitresses get, and he or she decides to take some of the tips. The manager says that they deserve it because they’re so busy coordinating everything, and they claim you wouldn’t even be in a position to get tips without them. This all feels very wrong, of course, but is it legal? 

Tips belong to the employees who are given them

No, your manager cannot take your tips and neither can your employer. Tips are supposed to go to the waitstaff or other workers who are directly given these tips, either in cash or on a card. They do not go to a salaried manager, no matter what that manager may claim. 

Even in cases where establishments use a tip pool, the pool is only supposed to be comprised of the group of employees who earn tips. Your manager cannot insert themselves into the pool, as even taking an equal allotment out of the pool is a form of wage theft. 

What can you do if you’re the victim of wage theft?

One of the most common types of theft in the United States is wage theft. Employees need to know exactly what legal steps they can take and what rights they have if this happens to them. 


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