What You Need to Know About Tip-Pooling and Getting Paid What You’re Owed

If you work in the restaurant service industry, you know that it can be challenging. From sore feet and back pain to dealing with difficult customers to coordinating among coworkers, there are many underappreciated aspects that go into creating a great dining experience.

The promise of good tips at the end of a long shift often makes the hard work worthwhile. To promote teamwork and cooperation among front-of-house staff—including servers, hosts, bartenders, bussers, and food runners—many restaurants implement a tip pool. In addition to incentivizing workers, tip sharing is a legally regulated practice under the Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). When a tip pool is utilized, but rules are not followed, this amounts to an employer stealing tips from employees.

Understanding Your Rights as an Employee in a Tip Pool

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 in tips per month are considered to be tipped employees. Tips belong to the worker who receives them from a customer, except in cases where there is a sharing arrangement, i.e. a tip pool, among tipped employees.

FLSA tip pooling rules include:

  • In most cases, a valid tip pooling arrangement must be between employees who customarily and regularly receive tips. For restaurants, this means front-of-house workers such as waiters, waitresses, and bartenders. It typically DOES NOT include back-of-house restaurant workers who do not customarily and regularly receive tips, such as chefs, cooks, dishwashers, and janitors. It also does not include restaurant owners, managers, or supervisors—even if they intermittently wait tables, tend bar, or perform other service staff work. (Note that different restaurants may have different standards for which workers are considered front-of-house and back-of-house.)
    • Back-of-house workers may share in a tip pool if their employer pays the tipped workers who contribute to the pool at least the full federal minimum wage.
  • Employers must notify tipped employees of any required tip pool contribution amount.
  • Employers may not retain employee’s tips for any purposes other than tip pooling.
  • Only tips that are in excess of tips used for the tip credit may be used for a pool. Tipped workers cannot be required to contribute a greater percentage of their tips than is customary and reasonable.
  • Employers determine a structure for redistributing the tips among employees in the pool.
  • FLSA’s tip pooling rules are only minimum requirements. States and cities may impose their own requirements.

Tip Pooling vs. Tip Sharing

Tip pooling is a legally-defined term by the FLSA. Tip sharing (i.e., “tipping out”) on the other hand, is a voluntary practice that some restaurants engage in. Tip sharing is usually a percentage of tips, sales, or category receipts paid to back-of-house employees. Because tip sharing is voluntary, it does not fall under the DOL’s jurisdiction. Employees who participate in tip-sharing don’t have to share their tips equally or with all support staff.

Tip Pooling and Credit Cards

DOL states that when tips are charged on a credit card, and the employer owes the credit card company a percentage on each sale, the employer may pay the employee the tip, less that percentage. For example, a credit card service charge of 3 percent means that the employer can pay the employee 97 percent of credit card tips. However, tips must be paid no later than the regular payday, and an employer may not withhold tips until being reimbursed by the credit card company. The same rules apply regardless of whether the tips are part of a pool, or are paid to a single employee.

Tip Pooling and Service Charges

Some restaurants charge a mandatory service charge, usually around 15%. When the employer sets the amount of gratuity through a service charge, that money is considered business income—not a tip for employees. It is therefore under the control of the employer.

Employer Consequences for Tip Pooling Violations

Employees who are required to pool tips with non-tipped employees may be owed a significant amount in damages. Courts typically require the employer to pay back the employee the tip credit (difference in the full minimum wage and the tipped hourly rate) for every hour worked when their tips were wrongfully paid to non-tipped employees. For example, if an employee was required to pool tips with a non-tipped employee and worked 40 hours for a year, damages would be calculated as follows:

$7.25-$2.13 (tip credit) * 40 hours * 52 weeks=$10,649.60

Further, in most instances, courts award liquidated damages or an amount equal to the regular damages. As you can see, the penalty for tip violations could be costly to an employer.

State and federal wage laws can be very complex. Many include quick filing deadlines. Workers who have questions about tip pooling and their rights should consider contacting our firm today to help you understand your rights and legal options., and help you pursue wages that have been wrongly withheld.

Things to Avoid If You Are Involved in a Car Accident

personal injury lawyer apopka flOur personal injury lawyers in Apopka, FL, at The Leach Firm, P.A. is your trusted legal source if you have been injured in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence. Our firm is dedicated to helping our clients fight for their legal rights in order for them to receive just financial compensation for their expenses and injuries. When you have been in a car accident, we understand this can be an overwhelming experience, but it is important to remember a few things that you should avoid to help your case.

After you have been in an accident, it is vital you do not leave the scene even if the accident was not your fault. When drivers leave the scene, they can be charged with a hit and run, even if it was the other person’s fault. If you are able, it is important to get out of your vehicle to check to see if anyone else was hurt. This is also the time to exchange information, such as insurance items, to help speed up the process for the police.

It is vital to never forget to contact the police in the event of a car accident. In order to have a strong personal injury case, having a proper police report will allow your accident to be documented and can help prove that the driver was negligent.

Contact our personal injury lawyer in Apopka, FL, at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a consultation.

Steps to Take After You Have Been Injured

personal injury lawyer orlando flThe Leach Firm, P.A. is your dedicated personal injury lawyer in Orlando, FL, which is why we strive to educate our clients on important steps they can take to help build their case. When you have been injured due someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, it is important to document thoroughly to increase your chances of receiving just compensation to cover medical expenses. Below we offer helpful steps to take after you have been injured.

  • The first thing you should do after being injured is to notify the police. It is vital to obtain a copy of the police report as evidence of the accident when building your personal injury case.
  • Collecting clear and concise documentation will help you build a strong and effective case. If you are able, it is best to write down everything you can remember about the accident right after the incident occurs, since it is fresh in your mind.
  • We highly recommend taking pictures of your surroundings, injuries, and anyone else that was injured.
  • After you have been injured, you should promptly see a doctor. The doctor can properly evaluate your injuries and can provide you with helpful documentation.
  • Since a personal injury case can take a while to solve, it is important to save all medical bills and receipts during the recovery period.

Contact our personal injury lawyer in Orlando, FL, at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a consultation.

Premises Liability Cases

personal injury lawyer in Apopka, flAs an owner, operator, and manager, it is your legal responsibility to maintain your property for the safety of others. If you have been hurt on someone’s property due to their negligence of dangerous and unsafe conditions on their land, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering. Below we feature the most common premises liability cases.

  • Attractive nuisance cases that feature landowners liable for hidden traps or defects on their property that attract and injure children. Examples of this would be abandoned pools, trampolines, playgrounds, and buildings.
  • Slip and fall accidents that involve negligence that involves tripping or slipping on an object or substance that is not clearly marked to warn others.
  • Hazing incidents caused by fraternity and sorority clubs.
  • Negligent security cases that include assault or battery in places of business. Most common areas of negligent security include parking garages, parking lots, hotels, and more.

These are just a few examples of accidents that could potentially happen on your property. The Leach Firm, P.A., strives to utilize our knowledge of premises liability cases and the applicable Florida laws governing premises liability lawsuits to create effective and compelling cases that fight for your rights. Contact us today at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a free consultation with our personal injury lawyer in Apopka, FL.

Misconduct in the Workplace

employment discrimination lawyer orlando flWhen you believe you have been the victim of misconduct in the workplace, look to the Leach Firm, P.A. to provide legal guidance to protect your rights. Employment discrimination against color, race, religion, sex, or national origin is considered unlawful and unacceptable. If you feel discrimination in the workplace is present and your employer failed to address the issue or inadequately handled the incident, our employment discrimination lawyer in Orlando, FL, can help represent your rights in a compelling case. Below we include common ways your employer may display discrimination in the workplace.

  • Hiring & Firing
  • Classification of Employees
  • Job Duty Transfer
  • Training
  • Retirement Plans
  • Promotions
  • Recruitment
  • Layoffs
  • Testing
  • Payment of Wages
  • Benefits
  • Disability Leave
  • Other Terms & Conditions of Employment

Unfair treatment in the workplace by employers is a common issue of employment discrimination. Whether your employer is showing favoritism to a certain employee or treats other employee’s cruelly, it is important these employment practices are brought to an end. We encourage you to consult our firm today to help you understand your legal rights. Contact us today at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a free consultation. We provide legal service to clients in Orlando, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Apopka, and Clermont, Florida, and the surrounding areas.

Safety Tips: Riding a Bicycle

personal injury lawyer orlando flWhen it comes to riding a bicycle, whether you are going on a joy ride in the park or racing in a triathlon, it is always important to partake in safety precautions for yourself and others. At The Leach Firm, we are dedicated to helping our clients fight for their rights and receive the just compensation they deserve if they become injured in a bicycle accident. Below we offer bicycle safety tips that should be followed at all times.

  • Always wear a helmet every time you ride your bike. A helmet is a simple addition to your outfit that could save your life.
  • Similar to driving a car, it is vital you obey all traffic laws, road signs, and traffic lights.
  • In order to be visible to other drivers on the road, always wear reflective gear at night and ride in the designated bike lanes.
  • Always assume drivers do not see you. We recommend using hand signals and making eye contact with drivers to help keep you safe on the road when turning.
  • Ride with the flow of traffic and always travel in the same direction as vehicles.
  • We recommend regularly checking your bike for needed repairs and maintenance issues.
  • Do not listen to music while riding your bike to hear your surroundings for safety reasons.

If you need to speak to our experienced personal injury lawyer in Orlando, FL, contact our office today at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a free consultation.

Causes of Car Accidents

personal injury lawyer apopka flWhen it comes to driving, regardless of your destination, the unfortunate reality is you are at risk of being involved in an accident. At The Leach Firm, our firm will work hard to fight for your rights and help you receive the just compensation you deserve. Below we list common causes of automotive accidents to help raise awareness that could save a life.

  • Smart Devices

Playing with your smart device while driving, whether that is texting and driving or taking a selfie on your camera, has become a top cause of car accidents. Looking down at your phone or tablet for even a second can result in a crash. We encourage our clients to put their phones down while operating their vehicle.

  • Weather

Rain is a primary concern while driving because it hinders visibility and road conditions. Rain is a top cause of car accidents due to drivers hydroplaning and skidding when braking. If the rain is too heavy to drive in, we urge our clients to pull over on the side of the road with their hazards on until the weather passes.

If you have been hurt in an accident, look to our personal injury lawyer in Apopka, FL. Contact us today at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a free consultation.

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

personal injury lawyer orlando flAt The Leach Firm, we understand that drivers are expected to obey safety laws and grant pedestrians the right of way, but often time’s drivers become careless and fail to operate their vehicles safely. Our personal injury lawyer in Orlando, FL is here to help you by providing superior legal representation and safety tips. Below we discuss three safety tips for pedestrians.

  1. Be Visible

Wearing light and reflective clothing is a great way to help you stand out to drivers. We recommend walking in well-lit areas, along sidewalks, and crossing over on crosswalks when available.

  1. Stay Alert

Being cautious and aware of your surroundings is vital. Opting to stay off your smart device will help you be mindful of the cars around you. We suggest not listening to music while running or walking alongside the street to ensure you can hear all horns.

  1. Follow the Rules of the Road

Pedestrians are just as responsible as drivers when it comes to understanding traffic laws, signs, and signals. It is best to never assume a driver can see you.

If you or a loved one has been hurt in a pedestrian accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  Seek The Leach Firm for quality legal representation. Contact us today at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a free consultation.

Must Have Motorcycle Safety Gear

personal injury lawyer apopka flThere is nothing better than feeling the wind in your hair while riding on the open road. At The Leach Firm, we strive to help our clients stay safe while enjoying the things that they love. Our dedicated personal injury lawyer in Apopka, FL offers superior legal representation and helpful tips to stay safe while driving your motorcycle. Below we list must have safety gear every motorcyclist should own.

  • Motorcycle Helmet

A full-face helmet is an essential investment when owning a bike. Helmets protect your face, brain, and eyes in case of an accident.

  • Leather Gloves

Full finger leather gloves are a great addition to your biking uniform because they protect your skin and could save a finger in an accident. When drivers are in a crash, often they are launched off their bike and forced to use their hands as a way to break their fall.

  • Leather Jacket

The leather is a durable material that can help protect your skin from getting scratched from the hard pavement in case of an accident. Additionally, a leather jacket will also make you look cool while riding your bike.

  • Motorcycle Boots

Incorporating over the ankle boots into your riding uniform will provide added traction while driving and will protect the bones in your feet.

If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident, our personal injury lawyer in Apopka, FL is here to help you. Contact us today at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a free consultation.

Preventative Steps to Avoid a Slip & Fall Injury

personal injury lawyer orlando flThe food and restaurant industry presents many situations that can result in a serious slip and fall accident. From the slippery kitchen where dishes are washed to carrying food and drink trays across the room, slip and fall accidents can result in bodily harm and permanent impairment. Below we list three preventative steps to avoid a slip and fall accident.

  1. To avoid a harmful slip and fall accident, we strongly recommend wearing non-slip footwear that is appropriate for the restaurant industry. Non-slip footwear is an excellent addition to your uniform because it helps alleviate falls during work and can protect your feet from harmful objects found in the kitchen.
  2. It is vital for restaurant owners to warn workers and guests of areas that are sloped or problematic, such as uneven stairs, with signs or warning cones. Additionally, restaurant owners should place caution cones around spills and messes that can result in a harmful slip and fall accident.
  3. We recommend hiring staff members that are solely dedicated to ensuring the kitchen of your restaurant is clean and safe for servers and staff.

If you have been injured on the job due to the property owner’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact our personal injury lawyer in Orlando, FL at (321) 445-9410 to schedule a free consultation.