Do I have to pool my tips?

September 4th, 2020

In Minnesota, the answer is, “No, not if you don’t want to.” Your tips are your tips.

For decades, it has been the law in Minnesota that an employer cannot require an employee to pool (i.e., share) their tips with other employees or the employer (including management).[1] In fact, an employer cannot play any role in that decision.[2] An employer can’t refuse to hire someone or threaten to fire someone if they refuse to participate in the pool.

Employers can do a few things, including safeguarding and distributing the tips, as well as recording them for tax purposes. But whether you share your tips is your decision.

In a similar vein, restaurants and other service industries will often add a “service charge” to a bill. Unless it is made clear to the customer that this charge is not a tip, that service charge belongs to the employee providing the service.[3] The employer cannot retain any portion of it.

There is an exception to all of this. If you provide service in a collaborative setting, such as a banquet, the tips may be pooled among those employees working that shift. But this is a limited exception, and under no circumstances can any of the money go to management or employees from other shifts.

If you are forced to pool your tips, reach out for a free consultation with an experienced employment attorney to see if your rights have been violated.

Maria-headshot-300×300With abounding energy and a quest to unearth the details, attorney Maria Shatonova brings analytic skills and insight to each case she represents. Her work includes cases involving wage theft and misclassification of employees; retaliation, wrongful termination, and discrimination.


[1] Minn. Stat. § 177.24, subd. 3.

[2] Burt v. Rackner, 902 N.W.2d 448 (Minn. 2017)

[3] Minn. R. 5200.0080

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