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What is tip skimming in the service industry?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2022 | Wage & Hour Laws

The service industry can be an appealing one for many people, such as those who prefer working second or third shifts and those who want or need a part-time occupation. However, restaurants, bars and other establishments that largely pay their employees with tips can be rampant with wage violations. Not all establishments violate the law, of course, but the few that do put their employees at a huge disadvantage.

Tip skimming is one such wage violation. What is tip skimming in the Illinois service industry?

What constitutes tip skimming?

Tip skimming is an illegal activity that occurs when another employee at an establishment, generally an owner, manager or supervisor, takes money from the tip pool meant for servers, bartenders and other tipped workers. Tip pooling, which by itself is a common and legal practice, involves collecting the tip money that employees earn and then redistributing that money among all the employees who work for tips. Because tipped employees are often unaware of how much other workers earn in tips, managers believe that they can get away with skimming.

How can employees recognize tip skimming?

It can be difficult for tipped workers to recognize skimming while it is happening. However, some signs to watch for include paychecks that are below state minimum wage and vague tip pooling procedures.

By being aware of what tip skimming entails and some of the warning signs that an employer might be skimming, employees who make their living off of tips can push for clearer policies and procedures in the workplace.