(CN) – Restaurants can require their servers to include other employees in mandatory tip pools, a California appeals court ruled. Tip-pooling is common at restaurants in the Golden State and around the United States. However, no California laws address the policy.
Brad Etheridge challenged the practice in a class action against Reins International California, which operates several restaurants. Etheridge did not challenge the sharing of tips with bussers, but he did seek to block the inclusion of those who do not provide direct table service, like bartenders, kitchen staff and dishwashers.
Reins countered that its tip-sharing policy was permissible, since it did not include management.
The trial court ruled in favor of Reins, and Justice Croskey of the 2nd District Court of Appeals agreed that tip-pooling is not prohibited by the California Labor Code.
“A patron tips on all of the service received,” Croskey wrote, “not simply the services received by employees the patron can see.”