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Non-Discrimination In Tipping

On December 7, 1999, the Board of County Commissioners adopted Ordinance 99-163, a new law prohibiting discrimination in tipping at food service establishments. The law does not require tipping; it provides for various disclosures should there be tipping in an establishment. Tipping may also mean gratuities or service charges.

What does the law do?

It prohibits discriminatory tipping policies based upon the customer's race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, marital status or familial status.

To whom does the law apply?

All food service establishments throughout Miami-Dade County in which tipping normally occurs or which have a tipping policy.

My business only has a tip jar. Is this included?

Yes. Businesses where tipping consists of having a "tip jar", take-out counters where tips are accepted, or businesses where customers ordinarily leave their change after payment of the bill are subject to the new law.

If my business accepts tips, what do I need to do?

Your business must post notice of your tipping policy and a required statement discussed further in #5 below. The notice must be in English, Spanish and Creole.

What must the notice say?

It must state in English, Spanish and Creole whether you include an automatic tip in the bill, and if so, the amount or method of calculation. For example, if your policy is to automatically add a tip of 15%, the notice would state this fact and any special conditions (such as applying to parties of a certain size). If you do not add an automatic tip and leave the tip up to the customer, the notice would disclose that you do not add an automatic tip or that tipping is left to the discretion of the customer. In addition, the following required statement must be posted:

"It is illegal in Miami-Dade County for any business to condone in any manner tipping based on the race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, disability, marital status or familial status of the person or persons giving or receiving the tip. If you have a complaint, you may call the  Consumer Mediation Center hotline at 786-469-2333."

Where must the notice be posted?

The notice must be posted in a conspicuous place, either on a sign or in a statement on the menu or price list. If placed on a menu, price list or price board, it must be in the same form and manner as other items on the menu or list. Notice only on the customer's check is not acceptable since the check is received after the fact. Notice about the automatic tipping policy and the required statement in #5 can be posted together, or they can be posted separately, as long as each notice is conspicuous.

When is the law effective?

February 5, 2000

What is the penalty for not complying with the law?

Discrimination in tipping carries a fine of $1,000 for each violation. Failing to post the required notices carries a fine of $500 for each violation.

How does this requirement affect my obligations under existing state law governing automatic gratuities?

Chapter 509.214 of the Florida Statutes states the following: "Notification of automatic gratuity: Every public food service establishment which includes an automatic gratuity or service charge in the price of the meal shall include on the food menu and on the face of the bill provided to the customer notice that an automatic gratuity is included." You must still comply with state law which requires a notice on the menu and on the customer's bill. The County law is in addition to the state law

What if my business does not accept tips?

Food service establishments that do not accept tips have no obligations under the new law. For example, many "fast food" restaurants do not accept tips. In this case, no notices must be posted.

Questions regarding this requirement should be directed to the Consumer Mediation Center at 786-469-2333.

Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:50:47 AM
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