California: Court extends Restaurant Tipping Pool

In a 2-1 split decision, the California court of appeal for the appellate district that includes Los Angeles expanded the class of restaurant employees who can participate in an employer’s tip pool. Following the decison in Etheridge v. Reins International California, Inc. the tipping pool is no longer dedicated only to restaurant employees, such as servers or bussers, who provide “direct table service” to patrons but includes all employees in the “chain of service”—meaning any employee who contributes to the service a restaurant patron receives.The issue on appeal was whether a mandatory tip pool, in which tips are shared with employees who do not provide direct table service, violated California Labor Code Section 351, which states: “Every gratuity is hereby declared to be the sole property of the employee or employees to whom it was paid, given, or left for.”It is likely that the case will be brought to the California Supreme Court for review.Opinion available for download here>>.

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