Employer not following Michigan's Minimum Wage Law???

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Your firm was recommended by a friend and as I look through all the posts, I can see why everyone thinks so highly of you guys!!! I was wondering if my employer is following the minimum wage laws in Michigan. I have a part time job with this company and I am an employee, not a 1099 contract worker. My job is primarily tip based and I was wondering how the Michigan minimum wage laws work regarding tips? Some locations I work at I get an hourly rate plus tips and some are just tips. If the tips for the night do not average out to the minimum hourly wage, what is supposed to happen? I asked the employer and he said “we get what we get” and I think he is doing something wrong. I am wondering if I am getting cheated. Also, at some locations, my employer wants a portion of our tips and I don’t think that is right. Can he take part of my tips when I am the one doing the work? I heard about a Starbucks case not too long ago where Starbucks got fined a huge amount for taking a part of employees tips. I’m wondering if Michigan allows employers to take a portion of tips? It is hard enough to find a job in this area and I feel like my employer takes advantage of his employees because we need jobs. Thanks for your help.


  1. Peter A. Torrice on November 1, 2009 at 10:02 pm said:

    The last I checked in the state of Michigan, tipped employees can be paid at lower rates than the state minimum wage, but the worker should not be required to pool tips with a salaried supervisor or manager.

    The minimum wage for tipped workers in Michigan is $2.65 per hour provided they receive tips which combined with the hourly wage, equals or exceeds the minimum hourly wage, at least the last I checked. Here is the link to the Michigan minimum wage requirements for various situations:


    Now let me preface this by saying that I would have to conduct some more research before confidently answering this question, but from what I recall generally tipped employees are able to keep all of the tips that they earn, regardless of their hourly rate, and they don’t have to share with their boss. I believe the exception to this rule would be situation where there is a legitimate tip pooling agreement set in place at your job. In the restaurant industry, for example, it is common for tipped workers, waiters/waitresses/servers, to share all their tips collectively and split them evenly among the group. However, the group involved in a tip pool situation like at a restaurant usually does not include salaried managers.

    Usually valid tip pools do not include salaried managers unless they serve a functions that earns them tips, such as a bartender or bus boys. Often, in these situations a percentage of tips has to be “tipped out” to bartenders and bus persons, but this amount is typically set in advance and all parties involved are aware of it. This is extremely common and there is nothing illegal about it.

    However, there is a simple way to address your concerns if there is a questionable or unlawful employment practice going on…call the Michigan Wage and Hour Division and file a complaint! Here is their link:


    They will pursue any complaint you have forr unpaid wages, and I believe this includes the situation you are describing. Best of all it is a FREE service provided by the state. Be aware that by choosing to pursue this administrative action you are forfeiting your rights to sue in court however, so be cautious.

    If you require legal representation in Michigan employment law, call Canu Torrice Law at (586) 285-1700 for a free consultation today!

    Canu Torrice Law
    (586) 285-1700

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