Avidor v. Sutter’s Place, Inc., 212 Cal. App. 4th 1439 (2013)

Haim Avidor is the lead plaintiff in this putative class of current and former card dealers employed by Sutter’s Place, a cardroom/casino located in San Jose (“Bay 101”). Bay 101 required its dealers to contribute a set amount of the gratuities they received from players to a common account, which was distributed to other (non-dealer) casino employees each payday. Plaintiffs contended that Bay 101 violated Labor Code § 351 by compelling its dealers to participate in this tip-pooling arrangement. Before the trial began, the trial court sustained demurrers and otherwise dismissed most of plaintiffs’ claims before dismissing the last two claims after plaintiffs rested. The Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that Section 351 prohibits distributing a tip pool to an employer’s agent, and plaintiffs had failed to prove that any recipients of the tip pool could be deemed an agent of the employer.