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The basics on tipping laws in California

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2022 | Employment Law

As a worker in the Los Angeles service industry, it is likely that you depend heavily on your tips to support you financially. You go above and beyond to provide services that will earn you a good tip. So, it can be very discouraging if your employer tries to keep your tips in violation of California tipping laws.

Your tips belong to you

Under California Labor Code Section 351, tips—also referred to as “gratuity”—belong to the employee they were given to. An employer cannot legally withhold your tips or take them from you for their own gain.

A tip is any money above what was due given to a worker by a patron of the business for services rendered. Many of those in the service industry earn tips.

Tipping and credit cards

Often when people pay for goods or services with a credit card, they leave a tip using the card. If so, you are entitled to get your tip no later than the next regular payday. Your employer cannot deduct credit card processing fees from your tips.

Tip pooling

Sometimes your employer says you must share your tips with others who were within the chain of service, such as cooks or busboys. This is known as tip pooling, and it is legal. However, no portion of your tips can go to owners, managers or supervisors. Also, any tip pooling policies are required to be “fair and reasonable.”

You have a right to keep your tips

Remember, even if your employer has a tip pooling policy, you deserve to keep the tips you earn, and your employer cannot legally take these tips away from you for their own gain. If you believe your employer is violating California tipping laws, you can discuss your concerns with an attorney.