When our employment lawyers sit down at a restaurant, their radar usually goes off. Thoughts of wage and hour violations fill their heads as they sip from their water glass. We often sit at restaurants wondering if the servers, bussers, and kitchen staff are paid correctly for all the hours they put in. Unfortunately, we know the answer to that question very well. In the restaurant industry, Fair Labor Standards Act violations are found at every turn.
Case in Point
The Department of Labor is extensively investigating the New Jersey restaurant scene, and recently a string of pizza and pasta restaurants were targeted for FLSA violations. The DOL found plenty of minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping FLSA violations to fill their plate.
After 46 investigations, the labor department has recovered just over $2 million for 578 employees working in these pizza and pasta restaurants. Many of the employers were also hit with civil penalties for willful FLSA violations.
What are willful FLSA violations?
“The FLSA allows employees to recover two years of back pay if they file a private wage and hour suit against their employer. But if an employer willfully or repeatedly violates the law then the courts can grant a three year recovery of back wages,” said employment lawyer Galvin Kennedy.
Willful violators may be prosecuted criminally and fined up to $10,000.
Does my employer have to keep my time and pay records?
Yes. Under the FLSA, employers must keep records for each covered, nonexempt employee, including records on pay and hours worked. Sometimes, employers will pay restaurant employees in cash instead of recording their pay or hours, a violation of FLSA record-keeping provisions.
Are you a restaurant worker making unfair wages and tips?
Working in a restaurant is a tough job, with long hours. Being paid incorrectly after every shift just rubs salt into the wound, and employers could be pocketing large amounts of your wages and tips, but you likely have no idea of the wage laws. Order our free book to arm yourself with information, or simply call our office to have one of our employment lawyers review your case for free.
- Employers paying workers a salary or shift pay that falls below minimum wage;
- Employers not paying restaurant employees overtime for working over 40 hours a week;
- Employers not paying minimum wage to servers, bussers, dishwashers, cooks and other employees;
- Employers engaging in illegal tip pools;
- Employers forcing employees to share tips with employees who do not customarily receive tips, like managers.
What’s a valid tip pool?
Employers can require employees to share tips with other tipped employees, as long as the tipped employee’s wages add up to minimum wage. But employers often require tipped employees to share tips with employees who do not customarily receive tips (managers, bussers, dishwashers, and cooks). This is usually an FLSA violation.
If you are experiencing unfair pay practices you may feel powerless and afraid to speak up. But with one call to our employment lawyers you can decide to speak up against unfair pay. Call us today or send us a contact form to have a free case review from our employment attorneys.