California Employees Cant Sue For Tip Violations


One Minute Memo: California Employees Can’t Sue For Tip Violations

California Labor Code Section 351 prohibits employers from taking “any gratuity or a part thereof that is paid, given to, or left for an employee by a patron.” Section 354 further provides that, if an employer improperly takes tips designated for its employees, the employer is guilty of a misdemeanor and liable for a fine of up to $1,000.00.

While Section 351 is clear that gratuities are “the sole property of the employee or employees to whom it was paid,” the section is silent regarding whether an aggrieved employee may bring a private cause of action for violation of that section. Section 355 simply states that enforcement of Section 351 is left to the California Department of Industrial Relations (“DIR”), and that “all fines collected under this Article shall be paid into the State treasury.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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