TSLF Employment Blog

What You Should Know About Your Rights as a Tipped Employee in Virginia

Waiting tables, serving drinks, cleaning hotels, and various other jobs in Virginia pay employees through salary and tips. In some cases, employees may earn more in tips from satisfied customers than wages from their employer. However, workers who earn tips must be aware of their rights and potential risks of employment law issues. 

Throughout the United States, more and more individuals suffer from wage theft. If you believe your employer is exploiting you and stealing your earnings, speak with an employment law attorney at The Spiggle Law Firm as soon as possible. 

How Does Tip Credit Factor Into Your Paycheck?

In Virginia, the current minimum wage stands at $12 per hour. However, employers have the option to pay tipped employees less than the minimum wage on the condition that the employees’ tips are enough to bridge the gap. This is known as a “tip credit,” and its specifics vary among states.

When an employer utilizes a tip credit, they are essentially taking into account the amount of tips their employees receive to cover the difference between the reduced wage and the standard minimum wage. This differential sum is referred to as a “credit.” It’s crucial to understand that if an employee’s tips do not reach the applicable minimum wage level, the employer must properly compensate the employee.

While Virginia law permits employers to apply a tip credit, federal law ensures certain protections for employees. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, tipped employees must receive a wage of at least $2.13 per hour, regardless of their actual tip earnings. In cases where the total compensation, including tips and the reduced salary, falls short of the minimum wage rate, the employer is obligated to make up the difference. This ensures that employees are not left under-compensated due to tip fluctuations.

What to Do If You’re Being Paid Unfairly as a Tipped Employee

In 2021, One Fair Wage disclosed that more than 2.4 million workers experience wage theft yearly. Although numerous employees endure unlawful pay practices, a significant portion of them refrains from taking legal action due to their lack of awareness about their rights and available options. If you find yourself uncertain about whether you are receiving fair compensation, take into account the following advice:

  • Check minimum wage requirements
  • Keep a detailed record of your earnings, work hours, and tips
  • Research and confirm the current overtime rules 
  • Review paycheck information
  • Speak with trusted colleagues about pay-related issues
  • Schedule a meeting with HR or management
  • File a complaint with the organization
  • Know whistleblower protections for Virginia employees
  • Speak with a professional lawyer

Many employees encounter wage violations. If you suspect your employer is not compensating you appropriately, you might consider initiating an employment law claim. In Virginia, employees have a three-year window from the date when their employer should have made the appropriate payment to file a claim. However, if your situation involves other employment law matters, such as discrimination or sexual harassment, the time frame to file may differ. To learn about the specific timeline applicable to your case, consult with your Virginia wage and hour lawyer.

Contact The Spiggle Law Firm for an Experienced Employment Lawyer Today

Discovering your employer or manager is stealing from your tips and wages is extremely frustrating and degrading. The Spiggle Law Firm and our team are devoted to protecting clients and offering genuine advocacy for those suffering from employment law issues. We offer client-tailored services and community connections to build a solid case and recover the compensation you deserve.  

Drawing from extensive experience, we have successfully guided numerous individuals through intricate legal challenges, resulting in the recovery of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We pride ourselves on treating every client with respect and ensuring their rights are shielded from any unjust treatment. Don’t hesitate to contact a member of our team today. You can reach us by completing our contact form or calling (202) 449-8527.

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