Tipped Workers Rights to Fair Wages
Employees working in the food service industry are often employed as tipped
employees. Thus, special rules apply to the minimum wage and overtime
that must be paid to these types of employees, as well as to the types
of work they are allowed to perform. Restaurant and bar employees who
feel that their rights to fair wages have been violated may be entitled
to additional compensation.
If you worked as a tipped employee, such as a server, bartender, or busboy
at a restaurant or bar and were required to perform side work or excessive
amounts of non-tipped work during your shift, you may be entitled to compensation.
The experienced employment lawyers at Golomb & Honik are currently
litigating unfair wage treatment and compensation cases; call us at
1-215-278-4449 immediately to evaluate your case.
Tipped Employees and the Right to Fair Wages
Waitresses, busboys, bartenders, servers, and other food industry workers
are often paid improperly by their employers and below minimum wage because
they are working as tipped employees. Employers do this by engaging in
illegal and unethical practices, including:
- Excessive amounts of non-tipped work duties
- Retention of tips
- Tip Pooling
- Service charges without giving employee tips
- Meeting or clean up time not paid
- Illegal deductions for cash register shortages
- Failure to pay overtime on regular rate or on the full minimum wage
When workers are asked to come into work to perform set-up, clean-up or
attend a meeting, companies may be legally required to pay employees at
the full minimum wage rate for such time and not at the tip credit rate.
Unfortunately, many restaurants and bars routinely break this rule and
pay their employees at the tip credit rate for performing duties where
they are not eligible to receive or make tips.
Another common practice is requiring a tipped employee to perform excessive
amounts of non-tipped work as a requirement of their shift. This may include
opening, cleaning, kitchen work, stocking supplies, and other routine
service procedures. While this may certainly be part of the job, it is
often illegal to require a tipped employee to spend more than 20% of their
job time doing work where they are prevented from receiving tips.
Lawsuits Against Unfair Wages
Several employment lawsuits against popular chain restaurants have made
the news in recent years. Applebee’s in Pennsylvania is facing litigation
for requiring tipped employees to come into work a half an hour before
the shift begins and stay at work after the shift is over to perform various
maintenance tasks. During this time, they paid their tipped employees
subminimum wages which is in violation of several employment acts, including
the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act.
The Cheesecake Factory is another chain restaurant that is under similar
legal pressure after they reportedly violated the federal minimum wage
and overtime laws by requiring their tipped employees to work on custodial
tasks and attend meetings without being compensated the minimum wage.
Tipped Employees Know Your Rights
If you are a tipped employee, it is important to understand your rights
to receive a fair wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If your tips,
combined with the employer’s direct wages, do not equal the minimum
hourly wage, your employer may be required to make up the difference.
In addition, you are not to spend more than 20% of your time performing
tasks that do not allow you to receive tips. These tasks can include:
cleaning, mopping, sweeping, taking out trash, attending meetings, or
National Employment Lawyers
If you work or have worked at a restaurant and were required to perform
excessive amounts of non-tipped work during your shift, you may be eligible
for compensation. To learn more about your legal options or to schedule
a free consultation call the experienced employment lawyers at Golomb
& Honik today at
1-215-278-4449 or fill out our confidential