Navigating Non-Tipped Work for Servers: Understanding Your Rights in Restaurants

 In Overtime Law, Wage Law

Understanding Non-Tipped Side Work Laws as a Server

For servers working in restaurants across the United States, understanding the legalities surrounding non-tipped side work is crucial. This blog post dives into the rules and limitations set by law regarding the type and duration of non-tipped tasks that servers can be legally required to perform.

Legal Framework for Non-Tipped Side Work Tasks

Categories of Non-Tipped Tasks

Non-tipped tasks fall into two main categories:

  • Related Side Work: Tasks directly associated with serving customers but not directly tip-producing.
  • Unrelated Tasks: Duties not connected to a server’s role of serving customers.

The 80/20 Rule and Related Side Work

restaurant side work laws for servers

Understanding the 80/20 Rule

The law mandates that servers should not spend more than 20% of their time, or more than 30 continuous minutes, on related side work. This rule is crucial in ensuring that servers’ primary focus remains on tip-producing activities.

Examples of Related Side Work

  • Filling salt and pepper shakers
  • Rolling silverware
  • Wiping down and setting up tables
  • Resetting tables between customers

Limitations on Related Side Work

Despite being related to serving, these tasks have strict time limitations to prevent exploitation. For instance, it’s illegal for a restaurant to require servers to come in much earlier than opening time or stay significantly past closing solely for side work.

Unrelated Non-Tipped Tasks: A Strict No-No

Defining Unrelated Tasks

These are tasks that diverge from the core duties of serving customers. Examples include:

  • Cleaning the restaurant (beyond table maintenance)
  • Preparing food in the kitchen
  • Managing inventory

Legal Stance on Unrelated Tasks

The law is clear: servers cannot be required to spend any time on these unrelated duties. Even a minute spent on such tasks is considered a violation.

The Reason Behind Strict Side Work Rules

Preventing Tip Credit Abuse

The core purpose of these rules is to prevent restaurants from abusing the tip credit system. This system is designed to allow restaurants to pay servers a lower hourly wage because their income is supplemented by tips. However, when servers are engaged in non-tipped tasks, they are not earning tips, yet many restaurants continue to pay the lower wage, exploiting the system.Servers Performing Non-Tipped Side Work

Cost-Saving Measures at Servers’ Expense

Many restaurants choose to violate these rules as a cost-saving measure. They often assign servers tasks that should be performed by other staff members, thus reducing their need to hire additional staff. This practice puts an unfair burden on servers who are not compensated fairly for their time and effort.

Key Takeaways for Servers

Know Your Rights

  • As a server, it’s essential to be aware of what constitutes legal and illegal practices in terms of non-tipped work. Understanding your rights can help you identify when you might be exploited.

Recognizing Illegal Practices

  • If you find yourself spending a significant amount of time doing non-tipped tasks, or if you’re performing duties that fall outside your role as a server, it’s important to recognize these as potential violations of federal wage laws.

Taking Action

  • If you suspect that your employer is violating these laws, it’s critical to seek legal assistance. As experts in wage and hour claims, our firm can provide the guidance and representation you need to ensure your rights are protected. We welcome you to contact us with any questions at (817) 479-9229 or submitting your information to us online for review and someone from our office will contact you within 1 business day.

Standing Up for Your Rights

Waiter pay

Contacting an experienced worker’s rights attorney who has experience representing employees in the service industry is an important first line of defense in protecting your wages. At Herrmann Law, we are committed to supporting and empowering servers.

If you’re a server and are faced with an employer who requires you to perform a seemingly never ending list of nontipped duties and side work, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about your rights by calling 817-479-9229 or submitting your information to us online for review.

Herrmann Law: Empowering Servers Nationwide

Our aim is to empower servers with the knowledge and tools they need to stand up against wage exploitation in the restaurant industry. By understanding the legal limitations on non-tipped work, servers can better advocate for their rights and ensure they are compensated fairly for their labor.

For more information on your rights as a server and how to take action if you believe those rights are being violated, visit our website or contact our legal team. We encourage you to contact us by calling 817-479-9229 or submitting your information to us online for review.

We’re more than a law firm – through our tireless advocacy and legal representation for servers and bartenders, we are empowering servers and bartenders across the country. #ServerRights, #NonTippedSideWork #NonTippedWork, #RestaurantLaws, #TipCredit, #WageLaw, #FairLabor, #ServerSideWork



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