Restaurant, Food Processing and Tipped Employees
The restaurant and food processing industries give rise to
several unique overtime pay problems.
incorrect classification of some employees
Managers or Assistant Managers
work off the clock.
deductions from employers wages for uniforms
deductions for customer walk-outs or bill
- deductions for incorrect orders
deductions for a disputed credit-card bill by
the credit company
- deductions for broken objects
Supervisors, Assistant and Associate Managers
Generally speaking employers are not
required to pay managers and assistant managers overtime pay. As a result, many businesses attempt to fit
employees into this category who really do not meet the requirements for
exemption. See also Managers,
Supervisors, Assistant and Associate Managers.
If you spend a large part of your time
performing tasks such as ringing up sales, preparing food orders or filling in
for absent non-managers then you may not be a “true” manager or supervisor and
could be due overtime.
Some employers will abuse so-called salaried
assistant and associate manager employees, requiring them to perform a large
amount of “fill-in” work for non-salaried employees who do not show up for
work. This occurs more often when hiring
is tight. This illegal practice works
because the employer uses as an incentive the possibly becoming a manager with
a much greater salary and eligibility for greater bonuses. Often, the salaried assistant and associate
manager employees will work a very large number of overtime hours, resulting in
a very large amount due the employee.
The amount due could be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, this unfair practice is much
more common than most people think.
of Off-the-Clock work
- Meat packers and poultry workers not paid for
the time spent preparing equipment for the work day and putting on protective
- Punishing employees for failing to complete
assigned tasks within unreasonable time periods
- Failure to give credit for meal time even when
the employee works through it
- Short breaks not included in paid time
- "Closing work" that must be performed after
- See Hospital and Residential Care Facility
Employees, Work-Off-the-Clock, Weekend and Night Work for more detail
Businesses may take a credit against
the minimum wage for tips received by employees if certain requirements are
met. This means that your employer may
pay you an hourly rate of $2.12/hour so long as the difference from the regular
minimum wage is made up by tips.
- A tipped employee means any employee working in
an occupation where he or she regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips.
- The employee must actually receive the tips in
order for the business to receive a tip credit.
- Employers run into trouble with this credit when
they “skim” off the top of the tips or when they fail to make up the difference
if wages plus tips do not equal minimum wage.
You cannot “volunteer” to work for free at the job for which
you are normally paid. In other words,
your employer cannot force or coerce you to work “off-the-clock,” you must be paid
for all time spent doing your job. See Outside Sales, Charitable and
Volunteer Work for more detail.