Coffee Shops Pay $72K After Operating Illegal Tip Pool

Federal investigators found that the employers illegally shared tips with managers.

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division investigators found the operator of four Louisville coffee shops permitted two managers to take a portion of servers’ tips.

Provisions in the Fair Labor Standards Act forbid employers, managers or supervisors from participating in a tip pool.

Primarily a catering and event company, Wiltshire Pantry operates three other limited-service coffee shop and bakery locations in the Louisville area. This follows investigations of three other Louisville coffee shops – Please & Thank You LLC, Sunergos Coffee Ltd. Co. LLC and Heine Brothers – where agency investigators found employers illegally shared employee tips with managers.

The department recovered $72,564 in back wages and liquidated damages for 34 workers.

“Under no circumstance may employers or supervisors participate in a tip pool,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Karen Garnett-Civils in Louisville. “The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits managers and supervisors from keeping any portion of an employee’s tips for any purpose. Employers who have questions about their legal responsibilities should view the free resources on the Wage and Hour Division’s website or contact our staff for answers.”

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