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Jul 25, 2010 08:10 PM

Owners taking baristas tips: legal in Illinois?


I've seen this question addressed online, but haven't seen it specifically addressed for IL, and assume it is a States' Law issue.

I just started working at a small-ish Chicago coffee shop. Most shifts have a single staff member, and for most of those shifts, the owner is that staff member.

On weekend lunch shifts, there are two staff: owner and hourly barista.

I worked my first weekend shift today. At the end of the shift, I counted my tips, and was getting ready to go home. The owner said to me, "now you give me half of the tips." I asked her if she was joking, and said I had never heard of such things in all my years' working in the industry.

She made it clear to me that I either needed to abide by this policy or else quit.

In such a situation, is it legal for the owner to force her staff to split tips earned during the shift? I am paid full minimum wage prior to tipping (i.e.- 8.25 + tips).

Thanks for any advice. This situation has me befuddled...

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  1. Yours might be an odd case because the owner is also a barista, according to what you're saying here. And typically, baristas split their tips with whomever else they are working. So if that person happens to be the owner, and the two of you are working together...well, that might give her the right. Although it's still a bit questionable, in my opinion.

    State tipping laws: