Many times restaurant owners refuse to pay restaurant workers the legal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) established by the federal government in the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). Restaurant managers and staff also often ignore the FLSA regulations or may not be trained properly to fully understand the significance of the federal laws.
Violations in the restaurant industry of the FLSA include: not paying service employees the minimum wage; not paying overtime for hours worked above 40 hours per week; and/or not paying employees for all hours worked. In addition, employees (such as waiters, waitresses, bartenders), who receive tips as part of their compensation, are entitled to keep those tips – the tips are not the property of the restaurant. Under the FLSA, tipped employees are defined as those who regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. However, an employer cannot ignore the minimum wage requirement, even for tipped employees, and is obligated to pay tipped employees at least $2.13 per hour in direct wages – whatever the employee made in tips must be supplemented by the employer to equal $7.25 per hour, or the minimum wage set by the federal government.
The FLSA also includes regulations regarding child labor. For example, workers aged 14 or 15 are not permitted to work more than three hours on a school day, or eight hours on a non-school day. Further, 14 or 15 year olds may not work more than 40 hours during a non-school week.
Restaurant service workers are protected by the laws of the FLSA and any violations of the law should be reported. If you, or someone you know, worked or is working in a restaurant as a service employee and you suspect the restaurant is violating the federal laws of the Fair Labor Standards Act, please contact us to discuss your legal options.