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What legal action can I take against my employer?
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What legal action can I take against my employer?

I work as a server at a well-known chain restaurant and I earn $X.XX amount per hour (below minimum wage) because I keep all tips that I get. At the end of the day when I log out, I enter how many tips I get and am taxed appropriately with the tips in consideration when I get my paycheck.

A friend who worked at this same location previously warned me that the boss (head of this location) there has a habit of going back and increasing the amount of tips that you say you have earned. I'm not 100% sure why, but I heard that if you don't earn enough tips to make "minimum wage" since the $X.XX you earn is below it, then they have to compensate you the difference.

So when I recently looked at my time log, all the tip amounts I had previously reported were changed (change is acknowledged on log). As a result, I am paying extra tax on tips that I haven't received...

I plan waiting 2 more paycheck periods to see if this continues... but what legal action can I take if this continues?


Consider keeping a record of what you report on what dates, then contact your state labor board. You may also consider contacting the fraud division of the IRS.
You are correct, if your tips do not cover the minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up difference. It is not unusual for restaurants to pay as low as $2.35/hr.

before you can take any legal action you must check the local state and federal laws. It is true that you must meet a minimum wage requirement with tips included in that wage. The employer is required by some laws to make up the difference in the amount of tips reported and the actual wage to meet that minimum requirements. Additionally there is an assumed amount that employers are allowed to consider to be your tips whether you get that amount in tips or not. Your best bet is to get a hold of our local wage bureau (usually at the employment agency) to determine what the law is in your area. Then if you find that your not being paid correctly you can turn the employer to the wage bureau and they will investigate on your behalf. this process may take time but its the best way to solve a wage dispute while protecting your job to some extent.

wow- what a stupid employer, because he has to pay taxes on those tips, too.

I worked as a server in an area with a similar law. we were told that if our lack of tips caused him to have to pay us more per hour, that we must not be giving his customers good service, and we'd lose our job.

Do you keep a separate tip log?

Can you print out your tips as reported at the end of each shift?

It isn't ethical for him to change your reported tips. If I were you, I would document everything, and start looking for a different job. Don't stay there, that won't solve anything. Just move on and take notes.

When you're gone, confront him with all of your proof. If he fails to reimburse you or change the reporting, go to your state labor department, and file a report.

4 X
Depending on the state in which you live and work, you can call the state employment commission. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in the Federal Government and they will open a file. They will either prosecute (they prosecute very few) OR they will give you the right to bring a suit against the company yourself with your attorneys.

The key here is that if the company is large enough an attorney might work on a contingency basis and only take a portion of the pot instead of charging you in advance for their work.

Check to see if your state has a labor board or similar government agencythat investigates wage abuse (try yahoo searching the name of your state and "labor board", wage violation, or unfair wages). Chances are your state has a simple claim form to fill out and mail in and the government agency will follow up with you. There may be a hearing, but you usually do not need a lawyer. Sometimes you can get triple damages from the employer. Adam Fullman

baby #1 due 5/22/09
your employer is falsifying documents. I would call L and I and report them because yes they do have to make up the differance if they dont pay min wage and your tips dont add up to that.
Talk to your other coworkers and find out if its happening to them and file a joint complaint with L and I. its your best bet.

Write an anonymous letter to the corporate headquarters.
They probably don't want someone working for them doing

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