Employees who believe their employers may be forcing them to participate in a tip pool and may be diverting part of the tips to owners or managers who aren’t entitled to them may or may not have a right to sue on their own behalf.
Recent case: Harvey Grodensky sued his employer, Artichoke Joe’s Casino, over a mandatory tip pool. Grodensky alleged that some tip income was going to and that this violated the California wage law.
The casino argued that individual employees didn’t have the right to sue over tip allocations, but that the matter was up to the California state government.
The court disagreed and said there is a private right of action. Another appeals court recently concluded the opposite, setting the cases up for a run to the California Supreme Court. (Grodensky v. Artichoke Joe’s, No. A119036, California Court of Appeal, 1st Appellate Division, 2009)
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