Members of the wait staff at the Crosby National Golf Club have sued Troon Golf and the Crosby National, alleging that the golf facility failed to distribute proceeds from service charges to the staff in violation of California’s “Tip Law.”
The plaintiffs maintained in their class action complaint that the company adds a surcharge of around 18 percent to food and beverage bills, which is positioned as a gratuity charge. Allegedly, Crosby then forces the plaintiffs to forfeit around 12 to 20 percent of the gratuities back to Crosby.
Although tip pooling is not expressly prohibited by the Labor Code, California Labor Code Section 351 does expressly prohibit employers and their agents from collecting, taking, or receiving any portion of a gratuity. Thus, employers who mandate tip pooling must only distribute pooled tips to employees in the “chain of service.” The complaint alleges that by distributing tips to Crosby directly and to their agents who were not in the “chain of service,” Crosby allegedly violated the legal requirements for handling pooled tips.
Norman B. Blumenthal, an attorney for the workers, said that regardless of the workers’ base pay, “any surcharges that guests perceive to be a tip must go to the wait staff.”