by Michael Kun
The California Supreme Court has announced what can only be considered a major victory for hospitality employers in California.
California Labor Code section 351 probibits employers from taking any tip that customers may leave for employees. Many hospitality employers have long used tip-sharing policies, whereby tips left by customers are divided among those involved in service. In recent years, those tip-pooling practices have been challenged under section 351 as part of the wave of wage-hour class actions brought against California hospitality employers. While these class actions have proceeded, a threshold issue had not been addressed by the courts — whether section 351 even provides a private right of action by employees.