HOUSTON, Texas. Currently, if you are a server at a restaurant, your employer is not legally permitted to take your tips. Doing so is a wage violation and is a form of wage theft. However, Trump’s Department of Labor has proposed changing these laws. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of Labor has proposed that employers would soon have the right to make decisions about who gets the tips patrons leave for the front of the house. While some claim that this could potentially balance out the wage gap between cooks and servers, others worry that restaurant owners could now legally keep the tips themselves, essentially denying both servers and cooks money.
According to Eater, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, all workers are required to be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. However, servers are an exception to this law. Servers who earn tips can be paid as low as $2.13 per hour as long as the tips they receive bump their earnings up to at least $7.25 per hour.
Obama-era laws created strict restrictions, prohibiting restaurant owners from splitting server’s tips with non-tipped workers. The concern was that server tips would be used to pay the wages of dish washers and cooks. Under Obama-era rules, tips are considered the property of the server and employers cannot take this money from them or require them to share it with any other worker.
Unfortunately, even with regulations in place, restaurant owners have been known to steal employee wages. Even high-profile celebrity chefs have been accused of wage violations for stealing tips. Many critics worry that if Trump’s tip pooling changes pass, employers will just start pocketing server’s tips, leaving workers out of a critical source of income.
Even if the Trump administration changes the law, several states have laws on the books that prevent restaurant owners from taking employee’s tips. Additionally, the tip pooling law won’t apply to workers who do not receive minimum wage. An employer cannot deny a server minimum wage and then use the tip pooling law to take tips. The law would only apply in cases where the servers are paid minimum wage. If the new law is passed and you don’t receive your tips despite not receiving minimum wage, you may have a wage violation case.
Moore & Associates are wage violation lawyers in Houston, Texas who work with individuals who have had their rights violated on the job. Employers are required under the law to pay you the compensation you deserve. When they fail to honor their obligations, workers may find themselves not able to support their families or get ahead.
Wage theft and wage violations in the restaurant industry is a major issue. Eater reports that undocumented and immigrant workers and women workers are most vulnerable to wage theft and wage violations. If you believe your rights have been violated or believe that you have been denied tips or wages, visit us at https://www.mooreandassociates.net/ today to learn more.