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Is it legal for my manager to bully me or threaten me to make me tip out more than I already am?

Orange Park, FL |

I work at a restaurant in Jacksonville, FL. There is an unwritten law (i.e. not in the employee handbook, not posted on the wall & never really enforced) that we are to tip out 2% of our sales to other employees. They then split the tip out between the hostesses, expo, dishwashers, and bussers. All of these other employees make 8$ an hour or more. I have a manager who is threatening and bullying us when we tip out under the 2%. He threatens to take away shifts and tries to force us to tip out more.

Attorney Answers 2


An employer cannot require tipped employees to tip out managerial or other employees who do not customarily receive tips (i.e. cooks, managers, owners, office workers, or dishwashers). They can require you to share tips with those employees who regularly are tipped, including busboys and hostesses. The 5th circuit of the federal courts have held including employees who receive minimum wage invalidates a tip pool. Florida is in the 11th circuit, so I would suggest you contact a local employment lawyer to see if this rule is applicable in Florida. You should be able to find a good one by searching on the internet "Jacksonville employment lawyer tip pools." I found lots of information this way. While employment law was my first passion, I have not practiced in this area (yet). You might try the link below to a firm that I found which practices state-wide and gives free evaluations.

This communication is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship. It is always recommended you consult an attorney in person to discuss your case. The Law Offices of Stage & Associates practices state-wide and represents homeowners and community associations. Please visit our website at

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Your situation is interesting. I waited tables for years while in college and always tipped out bussers and bartenders (who often ended up making more than the servers) but never regularly paid employees, and never the dishwasher or hostess! I am wondering what kind of restaurant you work at! Lol.

But seriously, I agree with Attorney Stage - something is not right with your situation - find an attorney in Jax that can help you. And keep a journal of your tips earned, tips paid - make sure it is detailed as possible, and account for every day your work. Good luck!

To schedule a consultation, call my office at 407-965-5519. I am licensed to practice in Florida only. My answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, nor does it constitute legal advice. Proper legal advice can only be given after learning all circumstances and conducting a comprehensive examination, including being able to ask questions, and cannot be given just from reading one question on an Q&A board such as this.

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