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Court Partially Revives Casino Tip-Pooling Case

(CN) - A California casino's policy of forcing card dealers to pool their tips does not violate state labor laws unless managers benefit from the policy, a California appeals court ruled.

California labor codes also contain no private right to sue, the 2nd Appellate District Court of Appeals ruled. The codes make it illegal for employers to collect or receive gratuities, or to compel employees to patronize the business.

Louie Hung Kwei Lu worked for Hawaiian Gardens Casino. He argued that dealers shouldn't have to pool their tips, because patrons give the money directly to the dealers, instead of just leaving it on the table, as in restaurants.

The district court granted summary judgment to the casino, ruling that casino tip-pooling doesn't violate the law.

Justice David Minning agreed that "nothing in Labor Code section 351 prohibits tip pooling in casinos" and added that the codes contain no private right to sue. However, the court reversed in part, concluding that "Lu demonstrated a dispute of fact about whether some of the tip pool recipients are Casino 'agents.'"

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