What Tipped Employees Need to Know


Tipped employees work hard for their money. In no other industry does a worker’s day-to-day performance so greatly affect his or her ability to pay bills and put food on the table. Unfortunately, the rights of servers and bartenders are frequently violated, especially in the case of illegal tip pooling. While some ‘tip pooling’ practices are allowed in the State of Florida, there are very specific guidelines that some establishments violate on a regular basis. Some unscrupulous employers may try to intimidate their servers and bartenders into illegal tip pooling practices.

What Tipped Employees Need to Know

  • Tipped employees can only share their tips with other employees who would regularly receive tips like other servers, bartenders, bussers, etc.
  • Tipped employees can’t be required to share tips with employees who don’t regularly receive tips like dishwashers and cooks.
  • No employers are allowed to share in the pool.

Tip Pooling Violations

It’s not uncommon for a crooked business owner to illegally force his or her tipped employees into sharing tips with workers in non-tipped positions. This little trick works two-fold for the unethical employer. First, he or she doesn’t have to pay the non-tipped worker, such as a cook or dishwasher, a fair and legal wage. Second, not only does he or she not have to pay the non-tipped worker a legal wage in this particular scheme, the servers and bartenders are footing the bill. Service industry employees should absolutely never have to subsidize other employees on their own tips. It’s illegal and immoral.

What about Retaliation?

Many tipped employees are scared about coming forward with their wage concerns due to a fear of retaliation. Servers and other tipped employees need to know that under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), it is illegal for an employer, business owner or manager to retaliate against an employee for making a complaint or filing a claim. This means that you can’t legally get fired for filing a wage complaint. If your employer does fire you, he or she could be liable for additional damages incurred, in addition to dealing with the legal consequences involved.

Is Your Employer Taking Your Tips?

If your employer is unfairly and unlawfully taking your tips, contact an experienced employment law attorney in Naples as soon as possible. You need to file a claim, so it’s important to locate a skilled employment law attorney who has experience in handling tip pooling violations and restaurant cases. Contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Weldon & Rothman, PL today for a free consultation.


Legal Disclaimer: The above guidelines are educational in nature and do not create an attorney/client relationship. It is highly recommended that all Florida citizens with employment law issues contact an experienced local Florida employment law attorney to assist them with specific facts and circumstances regarding their labor and employment law matter. If you have been the victim of illegal activities at your workplace, then feel free to contact Attorney Rothman at Weldon & Rothman, PL toll free at (877) 730-5180 or via e-mail at info@weldonrothman.com

Bradley P. Rothman is an experienced Florida employment law attorney who has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star.  He is a principal member of Weldon & Rothman, PL – a Southwest Florida law firm with offices in Naples, Fort Myers, and Sarasota.


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