Q: Is it illegal in Texas for an employer to withhold tips from an employee?
I worked part time for a company making the $7.25 minimum hourly wage. The company also had a tip pool on top of their pay, and employees were tipped equally every day. When I quit the job, the manager told me that they were going to withhold my tips from the previous day I had already worked. They also told me that if I were to file a claim they would say that I did not complete my work duties and therefore did not earn the tips. Is this legal?
A: This is a tricky situation. Under federal law, employers are generally only required to pay you at least your state's minimum wage for each hour of work you perform. In the service industry, this means your server wage + your tips received must equal a ground total that averages out to an hourly rate of at least the current Texas minimum wage. If, by your employer's actions in withholding your tips on your last day, your hourly pay for your last day falls below minimum wage, this is a violation that can be reported to the Department of Labor (DOL).
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