President Trump’s Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced a plan to change Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations to allow restaurants to require that servers share tips with so-called “back of the house” workers including cooks and kitchen staff. Opponents to the proposed change believe that the new rule would allow employers to shift the cost of doing business – i.e. pay back of the house workers a fair wage – from the employer to its service workers.
Under current regulations, servers cannot be forced to share tips with non-service workers, although they may be required to pool tips with other service workers in qualifying circumstances. Furthermore, under Massachusetts law, an employee whose employer violates the tips statute may be entitled to three times his or her lost wages plus attorney’s fees.