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Posted in Consumer Protection on February 3, 2016   |  by Gary Burger

FLSA Claims for Skimming Tips

Managers frequently skim tips from servers at restaurants. This practice is illegal. Burger Law is committed to protecting workers rights when it comes to tipped employees.

Minimum wage laws have not kept pace with an increase in cost of living. This is a problem because it creates a disincentive for workers to acquire the skills they need to make work places more efficient in the long run. If a worker is not being paid a living wage, they will not stay with a job long enough to get good at it, and everyone suffers. Because employers make little financial investment in their low wage employees, those employees are considered easily replaceable. High turn over results, and average employee skill remains low.

This problem is made worse by the inability for workers to flex their collective muscle and negotiate with employers as a group. As it stands in Missouri today, workers can do little to force employers to increase their wages to tolerable levels. Employers in turn have no reason to increase pay. As plaintiff's attorneys, we feel that there is an ethical duty to address this inefficient arrangement by leveraging our efforts at enforcing existing wage laws, giving employees the ability to negotiate for increased compensation.

The main economic problem with low wages--high turnover rate among employees--is at it's worst in the food industry service sector. In positions where the employee is compensated via tip, this problem is made worse by the widespread practice of "tip pooling" whereby server wages are skimmed by the management. By systematically and intentionally violating fair labor law, food service management jeopardizes the livelihood and dignity of workers.

This practice is illegal under the FLSA. At Burger Law, we are committed to utilizing this law to enforce the rights of service sector employees to fair compensation. If you work at a restaurant as a tipped employee and feel that your tips are being shared with the management, contact us today.