Even if you work in a tipped profession, the customers may not place the tips directly into your hand. They may be left on a table or a counter, for example, to be collected later.
There are plenty of stories of employers scooping up these cash tips and keeping them. They often justify it by saying that it’s their business and they have a right to it. But do they? Can they really take your tips?
Your tips are your property
If you felt frustrated by the mere idea of your employer taking your tips, that feeling is definitely warranted. The law is clear that tips are your property. If they were given to you, your employer cannot take them from you.
When this happens, it is merely a form of wage theft. Workers in tipped positions expect to get those tips and factor them into their earnings every month. This is not “extra” money, considering the tipping culture in the United States. Even though your employer is paying you a wage, they also have to let you keep the tips that you earn on top of that wage.
That being said, this is certainly a type of wage theft that still happens. Some employers count on the fact that employees will not know the law or will be too nervous to speak up, even when they know that they’re being wronged.
Fight back against wage theft involving tips
Rest assured that you do have rights as a worker, no matter what your employer tells you or implies about your situation. Be sure you are well aware of the legal steps you should take to assert your rights against a dishonest employer. An attorney can help you learn more.