Many restaurants require servers to put their tips in a tip pool or to tip out various other employees. Kentucky law prohibits any requirement that employees share their tips with other employees. If a restaurant requires servers to share tips and pays them less than the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour before tips (for example, $2.13 an hour), then the restaurant may be violating Kentucky’s minimum wage requirements.
Unlike Kentucky law, federal law allows restaurants to require servers to share tips as long as the other employees are in positions that customarily and regularly receive tips, such as bartenders who regularly interact with customers. As a result, many restaurants in Kentucky comply with federal law but not Kentucky law.
There are also many other ways restaurants violate federal and Kentucky law in how they pay servers. They may require tips to be shared with management (or employees who don’t interact with customers), make servers spend a large amount of time performing non-tip-producing activities (like rolling silverware, tacking out trash, or cleaning bathrooms), or make servers clock out to perform non-tip-producing activities when there are no customers to wait on.
If you are a server in Kentucky who makes less than $7.25 an hour before tips and are required to share your tips with other employees, you may be owed wages. To learn more about our Wage & Overtime practice, click here. Call 615-244-2202 for a free and confidential consultation.