A lawsuit, filed in early 2010, saw employees of different Outback Steakhouse’s claim that they were unfairly being forced to share tips with other employees. Under the alleged “unfair” system, employees had to split tips with bussers, hosts and dishwashers. The employees were not told about the pooling system in advance, and therefore believed that their rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act were being violated. The FLSA contains specific provisions aimed at eliminating unfair employer-run tip pools. The class-action lawsuit was successful, as the parent company of the popular chain agreed to pay $1.25 million in wages that should have been received by employees. This case is just one of the many that show workers all over the nation how the Fair Labor Standards Act can protect their rights. If you believe you are a part of an illegal tip pooling system, we can help. But to make sure, read the list of factors which should have been explained to you in a tip pool notice. If the requirements below were not disclosed by your employer, you and your coworkers may have a case:

1. The amount of cash your employer pays you should be determined, and it can’t be less than $2.13 per hour.

2. The additional amount the employer is using as a credit against tips received must be decided. This extra amount cannot be more than the difference between the federal minimum wage and the amount the employer has agreed to pay you in cash per hour.

3. Your company should explain to you that the additional sum it claims as the tip credit cannot be more than the value of tips that the employees actually received for their services.

4. Employees must be informed about the tip credit provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

5. Unless a valid tip pool is implemented, all tips should be kept by the employee.

The Fair Labor Standards Act protects employees in every corner of the country. No matter how you believe your wage payment rights are being violated, our firm can help. Contact us to learn more about your legal rights and how the Fair Labor Standards Act can help you recover the unpaid overtime wages you have earned.  Our evaluation is Free and Confidential.

Michael Lore is the founder of The Lore Law Firm. For over 25 years, his law practice and experience extend from representing individuals in all aspects of labor & employment law, with a concentration in class and collective actions seeking to recover unpaid back overtime wages, to matters involving executive severance negotiations, non-compete provisions and serious personal injury (work and non-work related). He has handled matters both in the state and federal courts nationwide as well as via related administrative agencies. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Michael by using our chat functionality.