Grodensky v. Artichoke Joe’s Casino, 171 Cal. App. 4th 1399 (2009)

Card dealer Harvey Grodensky filed a putative class action challenging a mandatory tip-pooling policy that Artichoke Joe’s Casino had implemented for its dealers. The trial court determined (and the Court of Appeal affirmed) that the casino had not violated the minimum wage law by the tip-pooling arrangement but had violated Labor Code § 351 by requiring the dealers to share their tips with shift managers. The Court of Appeal found no error in the trial court’s issuance of a pre-trial protective order prohibiting any communications regarding the lawsuit between the casino and dealers while determination of the class certification motion was pending. The Court also affirmed that Grodensky and the putative class had a private right of action under Labor Code § 351 and that the trial court did not abuse its discretion by ordering the disgorgement of the sums taken from the dealers’ tips and distributed to the shift managers. Compare Etheridge v. Reins Int’l Cal., Inc., 172 Cal. App. 4th 908 (2009); Budrow v. Dave & Buster’s of Cal., Inc., 171 Cal. App. 4th 875 (2009) (restaurant employees who do not provide direct table service may share in tip pool).