Someone has been stealing your tips. It’s not a co-worker. It’s not a customer. It’s your boss.
It happens. Employers often feel entitled to tips because they own the business and really think of all money coming into that business as “their” money. They never think of it as yours at all. Instead, they think of paying you as giving you some of this cashflow that was theirs to begin with — not as giving you what you rightfully earned.
Taken to the extreme, this can lead to serious issues. For instance, maybe you get most of your tips on credit cards. Your boss is supposed to run those cards, add up your tips and cut you a check for the amount you earned. Instead of giving you the full amount, though, they take half of it for themself and only pay you a portion.
Or, maybe you get cash tips and your boss literally takes them off of the tables. If you confront them, they say they were just trying to help get the tables cleared for the next customers. You have no idea how much cash was left on the table, though, so you don’t know if the amount they eventually give you is even accurate. If the tip seems low, is that the fault of the customer or did your boss rob you?
Situations like this are very frustrating. Even just poor bookkeeping by your boss could lead to mistakes and accidental theft. No matter what happens, when it cuts into your earnings, you need to know what options you have.