Under a recent court ruling, a restaurant employer may require servers to pool tips and even distribute a portion of that tip pool to cooks, dishwashers, supervisors and other employees who are not commonly tipped.
However, this ruling only affects restaurant employers who pay servers at least the minimum wage. If the employer takes advantage of a tip credit under federal or state law, then employees are entitled to keep their own tips.
In Cumbie v. Woody Woo, Inc., a class-action suit, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that because the restaurant paid servers a wage that was $2.10 per hour more than the minimum wage, the employer could force servers to pool 100% of tips earned. The tip pool was then split between servers and kitchen staff. Normally in the restaurant industry, cooks and other back-of-the-house employees do not share in tips, but are paid much higher wages than food servers.
Under the arrangement at Vita Café, Continue reading