Massachusetts takes the protection of its employees seriously. Employees who work primarily for tips are no exception.
Tip pooling can be legal in some cases. For example, a restaurant owner can obligate their wait staff to share a reasonable part of their tips with a busboy. This is only legal because that employee is part of the service staff. A tip pool, however, cannot be used to pay other members of a staff who do not work for tips. Tip pooling can never be used to pay an employer or managerial staff.
Attorney David Dishman has pursued tip-sharing claims on the behalf of exotic dancers in class action cases against numerous adult entertainment clubs.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it is legal, as it is in many states, for an employer to take a tip credit. This means that an employer can legally pay their employee less than minimum wage if they can expect that the employee will make the majority of their pay in the form of tips.
If your tips and wages combined do not exceed the state minimum wage, you are entitled to a higher wage. Minimum wage must be met by a combination of wages and tips. If wages are so low that tips do not bring it up past minimum wage, then the employee’s wages must be increased. In Massachusetts, minimum wage is 8.00/hour, and that rate is set to go up.
If you are concerned about how your employer is handling tips at your workplace, contact Attorney David Dishman at 617-523-5252 for a free consultation.