At the end of a shift, it is customary for bartenders and servers to give a portion of their earned tips to either bartenders or hostesses. However, Kentucky wage and hour laws prohibit an employer from requiring servers and/or bartenders to give a portion of their tips to other employees. Pursuant to Kentucky’s wage and hour laws, it is solely up to the bartender or server who earned the tip to decide what amount, if any, he/she would like to give other employees. Even if an employer does not have an express policy or procedure requiring tipped employees to share a portion of their tips with other employees, if that employer retaliates against a bartender or server for not tipping-out by assigning him/her less work hours or less desirable stations or sections, Kentucky law views this as the same as requiring an employee to tip-out. If one or more of the employees can prove that the employer is violating Kentucky wage and hour laws by requiring its bartenders and/or servers to tip-out at the end of their shifts, then that bartender or server may file a wage and hour claim against his/her employer.
If employees are able to prove that an employer required him/her to tip-out at the end of their shift, then under Kentucky law, that employer must pay to its employees all amounts they tipped-out. In addition, if the employees can prove to the satisfaction of the court that the employer knew that its mandatory tip-out practice was in violation of Kentucky law, then the court may award the employees double the amount of their out-of-pocket losses. Finally, if an employee is able to prove that their employer required them to share their tips, then the employer is also required to pay the legal costs and attorney’s fees the employee(s) incurred in bringing a claim against the employer.
The Shelton Law Group has successfully brought many individual and class action claims against employers who have violated Kentucky’s wage and hour laws. If you believe that your current or former employer has violated Kentucky’s wage and hour laws, including the prohibition against mandatory tip out practices, then you should contact the Shelton Law Group at (502) 409-6460 or (888) 761-7204, or visit us at www.robsheltonlaw.com.