Set ’em up, Joe! Restaurants can require servers to share tips with bartenders — Business Management Daily: Free Reports on Human Resources, Employment Law, Office Management, Office Communication, Office Technology and Small Business Tax Business Management Daily

Set ’em up, Joe! Restaurants can require servers to share tips with bartenders

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For several years, California courts have confused employers whose employees receive tips from customers. The question: What sort of tip pools can employers mandate?

For example, although it seemed clear that employers could require servers to share some of their tips with buspersons who provide direct table service, it wasn’t clear whether bartenders and others who don’t directly approach diners could share in the tips.

The answer is in: Servers can be forced to share tips with others directly involved in the dining experience, such as bartenders who provide beverages for diners.

That doesn’t mean, of course, that managers or owners are entitled to any part of the tip.

Recent case:
Aaron Budrow worked as a cocktail server for a Dave & Buster’s restaurant for a little more than a month. The restaurant required all servers to contribute the equivalent of 1% of their gross sales in tips to bartenders.

Budrow sued on behalf of all similarly situated servers, arguing that the tip pooling amounted to a violation of the California Labor Code. Essentially, the argument was that the law on tip sharing applied only to those who provided direct table service to customers, such as buspersons.

The Court of Appeal of California threw out Budrow’s case. It reasoned that nothing in the Labor Code specified that only those who provide direct table service can be included in a tip pool. (Budrow v. Dave and Buster’s, No. B205026, Court of Appeal of California, 2nd Appellate District, 2009)

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