Can my boss make me share my tips?

Sometimes. As for the sharing of tips (“tip pooling”) it depends on who is in the pool. Managers are never allowed to participate in a tip pool. In fact, only employees who “customarily and regularly” receive tips may participate in a tip pool. For example, if you are a server, you may be asked to participate in a tip pool with the bartender. However, your employer is not allowed to make you include other restaurant employees who don’t receive tips. Sometimes, employers will do this in an effort to pay these employees the lower tip credit wage.

There are a number of laws governing when an employer can pay an employee the lower tip credit wage, and the Connecticut Department of Labor has a website that sets out these laws. Generally, your employer is required to inform you of the way the tip pool works, as well.

If you believe you have been forced to share tips with someone who doesn’t customarily and regularly receive tips, your employer could be violating the law, and you could have the right to sue for damages.

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