Superior Court Dismisses Class Action Alleging Card Room Dealers' Participation in Tip Pool Violates Law

Leading Trial Firm McManis Faulkner Successfully Defends Bay 101 Casino

Santa Clara Superior Court Judge James Kleinberg recently ruled after two weeks of trial that a card room was within its legal rights to require dealers to share tips with employees who serve the casino’s patrons. Discharging the jury and finding in favor of Sutter’s Place, Inc. which operates as Bay 101 Casino, the judge ruled in Haim Avidor v. Sutter’s Place Inc. (No. 1-07-CV-080689) that the dealers did not prove they had any interest in the money contributed to the tip pool and found that the amount they were required to contribute was fair.

“This is a great victory for Bay 101 Casino and other card rooms throughout California that operate tip pools,” said Sharon Kirsch of McManis Faulkner, who represented the defendant. “Not only does it confirm that card rooms have the legal right to operate tip pools and to require dealers to contribute to them, but the ruling reinforces the fact that the employers get to decide which employees serve their patrons and who deserves the tips.”

In addition to Kirsch, Bay 101 Casino was represented by McManis Faulkner attorneys Hon. Gregory Ward (Ret.) and Matthew Schechter.

In the class action suit, the plaintiff alleged the tips he and other dealers received were their sole property. However, the judge found there was insufficient evidence to prove that the money contributed to the tip pool belonged to the dealers and ruled that the contributions were the property of other employees of Bay 101 Casino, as decided by the card room’s management.

The judge’s decision also found that an employer may properly require an employee to contribute all or a portion of the gratuities received to a tip pool, to be distributed fairly to employees who contribute to the service of the patrons.

The dealers were made aware of the tip pool upon hiring and in his ruling the judge noted they never complained to management about the tip pool, showing their consent by participating in it.