Papa John's Workers Claim That Employees Don't Get The Tips — Managers Do

Are managers stealing Papa John's employees' tips?

papa john's employees Pexels, DAPA Images via Canva, Luis Molinero, Dutchmen Photography / Shutterstock

An unsettling revelation has surfaced about the wage practices at some Papa John's locations. A woman named Martha brought the issue to light in a TikTok video, stating that the managers at these establishments are allegedly keeping the tips meant for minimum-wage employees.

In her video, Martha wrote, "I just found out yesterday that at Papa Johns's, they don't give tips to the minimum wage employees. Instead all of the tips go to the managers." Her claim attracted responses from both sides, arguing over the validity of her claim.


She claimed that employees don't get the tips they receive; instead, the money go to the managers.

In the initial video, some viewers were quick to debunk her assertion, stating that this was not the case at all Papa John's establishments. 



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"Can't you do like one second of research before spouting off nonsense? You're spreading harmful misinformation," one person commented, challenging the validity of Martha's claim.

However, there were others who chimed in to validate Papa John's tipping policy, stating that while it may not be a widespread practice, it did happen at certain locations. "I used to be a shift supervisor there and can confirm," one person commented.

papa johns accused stealing wages from employeesPhoto: TikTok / @marthare48


Recognizing the backlash her video prompted, Martha posted a follow-up video in which she clarified that her assertion was based on a particular Papa John's location in Superior, Colorado.

She recounted the experience of a friend who was discouraged from tipping because the cashiers did not receive the tips. Martha and her friend, both of whom have worked in jobs where tips form a significant part of the income, were surprised and upset by this revelation.



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"Tips really do matter, and they really do make your paycheck," Martha asserted. 

She acknowledged that her initial statement might have created the impression that all Papa John's outlets engage in such practices, which she clarified was not her intention.

However, she maintained that it is crucial to be aware that such incidents can occur in various stores and franchises, and not just at Papa John's.

"But this is for clarity that after reading the comments and after reading from other people's experiences who have worked at a Papa John's and who have been managers, it's not at every Papa John's," she said.

Though, people in the comments felt that her follow-up video was not enough. The wording she used in the initial viral video asserted that the tipping policy applies to all Papa John's locations rather than just the one she mentioned located in Colorado.


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The discussion spilled over to Reddit, where another Papa John's employee shared a similar experience.

The poster shared their on the subreddit "r/PapaJohns," dedicated to everything about the pizza company. In the post, which is from two years ago, the employee claimed that their manager allegedly pocketed all the tips, leaving them without any additional income beyond their $8.70 hourly wage.

This person started overhearing a conversation between managers discussing their weekly earnings from tips, which amounted to several hundred dollars, raising concerns about potential wage theft.

reddit post papa johns stealing wages from employeesPhoto: Reddit


It seems that some employees corroborate the claim that certain Papa John's locations have managers that take tips. But if this is true, is it legal?

According to a 2020 rule published by the U.S. Department of Labor, managers may not keep any tips given to employees.

These stories serve as a reminder that it is essential to maintain wage transparency, not only to ensure fair pay for all employees but also to prevent any potential exploitation of workers. These allegations, if true, warrant a thorough investigation and appropriate remedial action from the involved parties.

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Ethan Cotler is a writer and frequent contributor to YourTango living in Boston. His writing covers entertainment, news, and human interest stories.