server speaking in car with caption '*I work different hours every week and I was just looking at the total so I hadn't noticed' (l) hand putting cash in tip jar (c) server speaking in car with caption '*It's illegal for servers to have to share tips with cooks in the state of Connecticut (servers make $6.38 plus tips while cooks make salary)' (r)

New Africa/Shutterstock @maiadobbs/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘We have to give out all cash tips to our manager’: Server quits after boss stopped paying out tips without notice

'I went to all the tables and told them they're stealing our tips.'


Jack Alban


Posted on May 10, 2023   Updated on May 10, 2023, 1:31 pm CDT

Have you ever had the sneaking suspicion that the tips you’re giving to staff at an eatery or restaurant aren’t actually going to workers, but are instead being gobbled up by the owners to do it with as they see fit?

It’s not like it doesn’t happen, a Crafty Crab server went viral on TikTok in December of 2022 after stating that a manager of the restaurant told her her tips would be going to the company and not directly to her.

Now, an employee of a dumpling restaurant in Connecticut says she quit her job for a similar practice, but she suspects that management has been lying to her about how gratuity has been distributed throughout her entire tenure at the business.

Maia Dobbs (@maiadobbs) says she first caught wind of the gratuity tomfoolery at her place of work when she began looking into her paystubs after she was told that her pay would be transitioning from tip-based to a set hourly wage.

@maiadobbs Dumpling shop drama again 😒 #restaurantlife #quittingmyjob #wagetheft ♬ original sound – Maia Dobbs

“I just rage quit my waitressing job,” Dobbs says in the clip. “They were gonna switch my pay from tips to minimum wage and not tell me. And the only way I found out was because somebody else told me. And then they offered my male co-worker who started working the same time as me $18.50 an hour. And then I just kind of ignored them for like a week because I was like what the fu-.”

She adds in a text overlay of her video that the minimum wage for Connecticut is $15/hr and according to, that rate will come into effect on June 1. Square reported in 2021 that the state’s minimum wage was $13/hr.

“They said they were gonna pay me $17.50 an hour,” Dobbs continues. “I was like, OK. That’s about what I was making with tips, I actually looked back at my paystubs and I was making exactly $17 for like… almost every month. Except two random months, it got different, but it was exactly $17. There is no hours listed on my paystubs either. Nothing’s listed, it just says salary, $17 an hour. That’s not right. I make tips, I don’t make salary.”

Dobbs says this is when she realized her employer had been paying her an hourly wage without tips, rather than the server wage with cash and credit card tips she had agreed to.

When discussing her issue with one of the restaurant’s cooks, Dobbs claims her co-worker tried to talk her out of being upset. However, Dobbs says the cook was receiving tips at the time.

“It’s illegal for servers to have to share tips with cooks in the state of Connecticut (servers make $6.38 plus tips, while cooks make salary),” she added in the clip’s text overlay.

While Hayber Law Firm writes “Connecticut allows employers to have what is called a “tip pool,” in which all tips are collected and distributed among the servers(or bartenders),” there appear to be different legalities when it comes to servers sharing said tips with other employees of the restaurant who aren’t servers or bartenders.

Nolo delineates that according to Connecticut state law: “Employees can’t be required to share their tips with employees who don’t usually receive their own tips, like dishwashers or cooks.” The online legal resource goes on to say that the only instances where employers are allowed to have servers share their tips with other workers of the restaurant is when they do not claim a tip credit and pay their workers’ minimum wages directly from their restaurants’ revenue.

If management at Dobbs’ restaurant was fronting the cost for her minimum wage previously without claiming a gratuity credit on its books, then it would be OK for them to disseminate tips as part of a pool among its workers, so long as managers of the restaurant weren’t also dipping their hands into those gratuities.

“And then I was like you know what? I bet the owner is gonna come in today. I just had a feeling and you know who walked in? The owner,” Dobbs explains. “She walked right in, she started working, and she tried talking to me, and I was like, ‘I don’t want to talk to you unless it’s in writing.'”

The TikToker was suspicious of the owner, who she claims never comes into work.

“I didn’t have the tip jar out because I don’t make tips,” Dobbs reasons. “So, why would I put the tip jar out? Right?”

The server added more context in a text overlay, writing that employees were instructed to give all of their tips to the manager on duty “at the end of the night” so that money would then be redistributed and added to their paychecks.

Dobbs says that during her shift, “The owner kept putting the tip jar out. I kept taking it back. Because at this point if we take tips and you’re paying your employees a set wage, that’s stealing from your customers.”

She then brought this up to the owner.

“I was like, ‘You can’t put the tip jar out if you’re paying a set wage.’ And she’s like, ‘Well, that’s part of how we make money is tips,'” Dobbs recalls. “And I was like, ‘You’re supposed to make money from the product, not the tips.’ And she was like, ‘Really? Who said?’ And I was like, ‘If you put the tip jar out, I’m leaving.'”

The owner didn’t seem too concerned with Dobbs’ threat. She says the owner put the tip jar out once again.

“So then I went to all the tables and told them they’re stealing our tips. Cause they are. They’re stealing them. And then I left,” Dobbs explains. “Also they’re currently being sued by their former employees for stealing tips, and they’re being investigated by the IRS, so I hope they have fun with their last few weeks of freedom waitressing—because I won’t be.”

One commenter suggested that Dobbs “report them to the labor board.” However, the TikToker replied, “The owner actually told me that the department of labor suggested they make the switch to hourly to avoid trouble going forward”

Someone else commented, “Wage theft is a massive problem you should lawyer up girl!!”

Another person agreed that the pay structure implemented by the restaurant sounded shady. “You can get paid an hourly and still collect tips. But the owner 110% CANNOT take any of the tips on any occasion so that’s will,” they commented.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Dobbs via TikTok comment for further information.

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*First Published: May 10, 2023, 1:14 pm CDT