Q: Is forcing waitresses to pool tips with the owner illegal
That is a tough answer to pin-point without a more exact question.
Michigan defaults to the FLSA, and the section 3(m) changes promulgated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (CAA). This regulation was finalized fairly recently, while I can't know exactly what you're describing: While tip-pooling (including the back staff) is permissible, if what you are describing is your employer taking a share of the tips, then that would be a violation.
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