Restaurant Wage Theft Lawsuit

 In Employment Law, Wage Law

Restaurant Wage Theft

An Oregon restaurant was recently ordered by the court to pay a million dollars to former workers for violating minimum wage laws and wrongfully withholding tips. This court order came after a jury found that the restaurant illegally shared servers’ tips with kitchen workers over a period of six years.

How the Restaurant Wage Theft Lawsuit Began

The lawsuit started after one of the restaurants workers was fired after she complained to management about the illegal tip pool. The lawsuit claimed that the owner of Park Kitchen was working off of an outdated minimum wage as well as taking the employers’ share of social security from worker paychecks and pooling tips.

Response to the Wage Theft Lawsuit

Despite being required to pay almost $1 million in compensation to the workers for back wages, misappropriated tips, fines, and for the workers’ attorneys’ fees and costs, the restaurant owner issued a statement denying any illegal treatment of workers.

The Laws Behind Restaurant Wage Theft

A federal law known as the Fair Labor Standards Act, prohibits wage theft, including added protections for servers’ tips. This federal law has several additional built-in protections to protect restaurant workers’ tips and wages. This is the same federal law that sets the federal minimum wage and requires employers to compensate workers for overtime pay at time and a half for any hours that are worked past a 40-hour work week.

Another important body of law to understand is the Davis-Bacon Act, which states that workers who are employed as contractors or subcontractors must receive compensation that is equivalent to the prevailing wage, which is calculated by the United States Department of Labor.

In other situations, wage theft involves violations of tax law. For example, workers are sometimes falsely classified as independent contractors.

Signs of Wage Theft

Some of the signs of wage theft that workers should be on the lookout for include the following:

  • Employers who ask workers to work through breaks are committing wage theft unless the work is compensated for this period. It is not permissible for companies to ask for volunteer hours while the worker is off the clock.
  • Companies are prohibited from garnishing a worker’s wages to pay for training materials or equipment replacement. Workers should never be required to pay for items used to make the workplace function correctly.
  • Employers are prohibited from receiving less than the state or federal minimum wage to compensate workers.
  • Workers must appropriately classify workers. An independent contractor classification has the potential to save an employer a substantial amount of money
  • See our page on Common Violations for Restaurant Employees

Speak with an Experienced Wage Theft Attorney

If you believe that you have not been adequately compensated by your employer or have been a victim of restaurant wage theft, you should speak with an experienced wage and hour lawyer. At Herrmann Law, we understand just how complex wage and hour lawsuits can be and remain committed to making certain that workers receive adequate compensation.

Contact one of our restaurant wage law attorneys at Herrmann Law to schedule an initial case evaluation, during which time we will discuss your various available options. Call our office: 817-479-9229 or fill out our online questionnaire, and someone from our office will contact you.

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