Captains, Bartenders Eligible for Restaurant’s Tip Pool

April 2011Articles Hospitality Law

Correctly determining which employees may participate in a restaurant tip pool is crucial to avoid litigation and penalties in the hospitality world. In a recent case, a District Court held that all tip pool participants at Brasserie Ruhlmann regularly interacted with customers and dismissed claims made by one employee, who was a busboy and runner, and several former employees who alleged that several front-of-the-house positions were wrongly included in the pool.

“The case provides restaurants with some legal authority to support their position that certain employees are proper tip pool participants,” said Carolyn D. Richmond and Seth M. Kaplan. “However, restaurants should conduct an internal review of their front-of-the-house positions and make an honest and accurate assessment as to whether their tip pool participants truly engage in regular interaction with the restaurant’s customers.”