Top 10 Employment Law Violations Every Food and Beverage Employer or Employee Should Know

Posted on December 18, 2011 | 98 comments

Top 10 Employment Law Violations Every Food and Beverage Employer or Employee Should Know

The restaurant, bar and food service industry continues to be one of the most highly abused industries when it comes to complying with California Employment law.  Restaurant employees are often cheated out of their hard-earned wages, and employers are constantly subjected to costly wage-and-hour litigation which undermines the successes of the business. Whether you are an employer or employee, you should familiarize yourself with the rules of the game.  The following is a list of top ten California labor laws that food and beverage employers frequently violate: 

1.  Employers must pay at least a minimum wage rate.

The minimum wage rate in California is $8 per hour. Paying anything less is a violation of California minimum wage law. This is true even if an employee personally agrees to a lesser hourly rate. In addition, an employer may not use tips earned by an employee (e.g. waiter, bartender, busser, or food runner) as a credit to satisfy the minimum wage requirement.

Each county has its own minimum wage rate; therefore, California employers must refer to their county’s minimum wage ordinance to determine an applicable rate. For example, San Francisco County has the highest minimum wage rate in the nation, which is now $9.92 and will become $10.34 as of January 2012.

Damages for violating California minimum wage law are considerable and include unpaid minimum wage with interest, statutory penalties, cost of litigation, and attorney fees.

2.   Employees must be paid for all hours worked.

California Labor Code requires employers to compensate workers for all hours worked. Specifically, employers must pay for all job duties that constitute an “integral and indispensable part of the principle activities” for which employees are employed.  These principle activities include training, attending pre-shift meetings or workshops, preparing a work station, doing side-work, and checking-out.  Some restaurant managers require their staff to clock-out before taking a 10-minut rest period. Such practice is illegal under California labor law.

3.  Overtime work must be paid at a premium rate.

In California, every non-exempt employee who works beyond normal hours is entitled to overtime. Waiters, bussers, food-runners, hostesses, and cooks are non-exempt employees and as such they are entitled to get paid one and one half times of a regular pay for all overtime hours.  (To learn more about California overtime law, read the following article).

Oftentimes restaurant owners misclassify their floor and kitchen workers as managers or assistant managers, which allows them to bypass California overtime laws. To classify a worker as a manager, an employer must demonstrate that worker’s job responsibilities and duties meet all of the requirements of executive exemption.

4.  Restaurant owners and managers are not allowed to take tips.

Section 351 of the California Labor Code prohibits employers and their agents from taking tips from employees serving customers. All tips left by customers belong exclusively to an employee who earned them. Restaurant owners, managers, supervisors or their assistants are not allowed to collect or receive tips. However, California labor law does not prohibit employers from having a tip polling policy that requires employees to share tips with other workers who provide services to customers.

Furhermore, employers who allow tips to be paid by credit card may not deduct from the tips any fees or cost associated with the credit card transaction.  All credit card tips must be paid not later than the next payday after the date the customer authorized the credit card payment.

A wait staff should keep in mind that California courts distinguish between tips and service charge. While a tip is property of an employee, service charge belongs to an employer. This distinction is crucial, because it allows employer to do with service charges whatever he or she wishes and employer is not required by law to distribute service charge to the company’s wait staff. The rationale behind it is that tips are voluntarily left by the customer, but service charge is a mandatory fee that customers have to pay to the house.

5.  Employees are not responsible for customer walk-outs, register shortage, order mistakes and other business related losses.

Industrial Commission Wage Order No. 5 Section 8 prohibits an employer from making any deduction from the wage or requiring any reimbursement from an employee for any cash shortage, breakage, or loss of equipment. Cash shortage, loss or breakage of equipment, customer walkouts, waiter’s mistakes are considered to be business expenses that cannot be passed onto the employee. The only time when employers are permitted to make such deductions is when it can be shown that the shortage, breakage, or loss is caused by a dishonest or willful act, or by the gross negligence of the employee. In other words, if a cashier makes an honest mistake while handling a cash register, he or she is not responsible for shortage. However, if the register is short because the employee did not follow his employer’s instructions and refused to use a calculator, such act or omission would be equivalent to the gross negligence and the employee may be held liable for shortage.  Most importantly, mere allegations that an employee steals money from the register are not sufficient; employer needs to present clear evidence of dishonest conducts or gross negligence.

6.  Employer must pay for uniform and its maintenance.

If employers require their workers to wear uniforms as a condition of employment, employers must pay for and maintain such uniforms. Industrial Commission Wage Order No. 5 defines the term “uniform” as any “apparel and accessories of distinctive design or color.” However, employers are not required to pay for  “basic wardrobe items which are usual and generally usable in the occupation.” For example, if an employer requires all wait-staff to wear jeans and pastel color shirts of no specific design, it would be responsibility of an employee to purchase and maintain those clothing items. However, if an employer requires workers to wear  the same jeans and pastel color shirts, but with the company’s logo, then the  employer would have to pay for them.

7.  Employer must provide meals and rest periods.

Meal Periods. All non-exempt employees are entitled to at least a 30-minut meal break for every five hours worked.  Such breaks must be scheduled at any time before the end of the fifth hour of work. If during this 30-minute meal period, an employee is relived from all work duties and is allowed to  leave work premises, then  the meal time itself does not count as part of the hours worked and is not compensable (“off-duty”). However, If an employee  is not permitted to leave the workplace during the meal period due to a nature of work, the meal time counts as part of hours worked  (e.g. overtime) and is compensable (“on-duty”).  In addition if employee’s work shift is six hours or less,  the employee may voluntarily agree to waive his or her right to a 30- minute meal break. Due to the nature of hispitality industry, most of the employees (e.g. servers, bartenders, bussers, and food runners) are not permitted to leave their workplace  during the meal break. In such cases, the employer may not require its workers to clock out before taking the meal breack and,  must pay their time.

Rest Periods. For every four hours of work, all non-exempt employees are entitled to at least a 10-minut rest break.  Employer must make sure that rest breaks are provided in the middle of a 4-hour work period, if practicable. Unlike meal periods, rest periods are  counted as time worked and therefore, the employer must pay for such periods. Since employees are paid for their rest periods, they can be required to remain on the employer’s premises during such periods.

If an employer fails to provide meal or rest periods, such employer must pay the employee one additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay for each work day that the meal or rest period was not provided.

8.   Employers must preserve all employment records.

Under the federal law, the following records must be maintained for at least three years from the last date of entry: payroll records, including each employee’s name, address, occupation, hours worked each day and week, wages paid and date of payment, amounts earned as straight-time pay and overtime, and deductions, etc. In addition, employers are required to keep the following records for at least two years: time and earnings cards; wage rate tables; work schedules; order, shipping and billing records; and records of additions to or deductions from wages.

Any employee, including former employees, may request  copies of his or her payroll records. An employer has  21 days to provide the records, or permit the inspection.  If an employer fails to comply, he is subject to  a $750 fine, and the employee may sue to obtain the information and recover costs and fees.

9.  Employer must disclose certain information on each pay stub.

Employers are required to include the following information on the pay stub when wages are paid:

·         Employer’s  name and address;
·         employee’s name and last four digits of social security number;
·         inclusive dates for which the employee is being paid;
·         gross wages earned;
·         the applicable hourly rate and total hours worked for hourly employees;
·         all deductions; and
·         net wages earned. (statement listing regular and overtime hours)

10.  Employer must pay wages twice each calendar month.

With a few exceptions, California Labor Code Section 204  requires that all non-exempt employees  must be paid twice each calendar month. Specifically, wages earned between the 1st and 15th of the month must be paid between the 16th and 26th; and wages earned between the 16th and the end of the month must be paid between the 1st and 10th of the following month.

San Francisco Paid Sick Leave

San Francisco County requires employers to pay for employee’s sick leave. Specifically, under the San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance 12W, qualified employees (i.e. those who worked for the company 90 days and more) are entitled to one hour of paid sick leave for each 30 hours worked. Depending on the size of employer, certain hour caps may apply. For example, if the company employs less than 10 workers, the maximum number of paid sick leave hours an employee can earn is 40 hours. Employers with more than 10 employees are subject to a 72-hour cap.

Legal Assistance

The foregoing list of labor law violations is not exhaustive and there are many other wage-and-hour requirements that each employer must follow. The legal consequences of Labor Code violations are severe and cost of defending a labor suit is costly. Whether you are an employer or employee, you must familiarize yourself with the above rules. If you are an employee and your wage-and-hour rights have been violated, you may be entitled to recover damages, including back pay, overtime, statutory penalties, and cost of the suit. However, if you are an employer and you are not sure whether your business practice is in full compliance with California Labor Code, feel free to contact the author of this article, who is a San Francisco employment law attorney, for a free consultation.

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  1. Thanks for this great article!

    • my boss makes us work 11hr shifts and reprumands us if we sit for more than 5minutes and we never get a 30minute break im tired of this but i need this job i dont know what to do

      • Start looking for a different job, Hector; then when you get one, go to the Labor Commission and file a claim. You could get LOTS of money back, and it is very easy to file a claim (the Labor Commissioner will provide you with an interpreter if you need it, and will help you with any questions you have about the claim).

      • This is how to report a labor violation;hope this helps I know it’s pretty late of a reply. Good luck.

      • Find a wage and hour lawyer in your area. You don’t pay up front and the employer will likely have to change its policies.

      • My boss does the same. We never get our 10 min break and they force us to sign a waiver when we first start which is clearly illegal. If I ask to go to the restroom ( yes I need to ASK!!!) My manager times me…. they will give u an hour break for working over 5 hours but that’s about it.

      • Please contact a labor lawyer. As the article says. You are legally entitled to an hours pay for each day your break rights were violated. If your employer refuses to pay this, further actions can be done.

      • Maybe he thinks laws don’t apply to him. Are you undocumented?
        I’ve had a similar boss. If you can, contact the labor board and force the employer to comply with the laws. You need witnesses. Otherwise, if you are a responsible hard worker you can get something better

      • Employer did the same thing to me. Got reprimanded for not taking a lunch break. Which I couldn’t due to dealing issues with employees and the police department. Also employers deducted uniform cost. Which he can not

    • I work at a teppanyaki. So there are servers and chefs. Well we pool tips. But chefs are allowed to keep side tips. But servers are not. It is seen as “stealing”. However the chefs also get 55% of our pooled cash and card tips. And we also have to tip the kitchen from the servers portion of the tips which is only 45% of what we made that whole night. It doesn’t sound right. I live in California. But I don’t know what to do. Should I make it a point to my employer?

    • I love this please help me find something similar for nevada!

  2. I work 140 hrs every 2 weeks it’s that over time cuz I ask my boss I get pay over time and she pretend like nothing happen it’s been like that for mor that 1 year I know I work more that 40 to 45 hrs over time
    I star @in the line prepping 9:00 – 4:00 take a break for 1 hr and come back @ 5:15 – 11:00 p.m 5 days a week it’s that count like over time

    • i only get paid 65 hours every two weeks and i really work like 97 every two week i complain to the manager and he says is better for me and he gets mad but hey what to do he gets mad

  3. Buffalo Wild Wing has fired employees when they refuse to pay for a customer walk out

  4. My daughter was fired by a restaurant after she did her side work, infront of people. On the spot. We also have to pay for walk outs. We also get a little over 2$ anhour.. We have to pay for our meals. We didnt save the checks we paid for when she had a walk out. The boss also grabbed her arm. Is there anything we can do?

    • Almost everything you described is unlawful. A minimum wage rate in California is $8. You are likely entitled to liquidated damages for minimum wage violations. I strongly recommend that you consult with an experienced employment law attorney.

    • Debbie, “if you reside in San Francisco, California”, you can also go to organizations, like Young Workers United or the Progressive Workers Alliance, who will be happy to help you with no fees to get your daughter’s money back.

    • quit that crappy job.

  5. “Restaurant owners, managers, supervisors or their assistants are not allowed to collect or receive tips.” What if the owner, manager, or supervisor is the one who provides the service? In some Mom and Pop restaurants, the owners actually wait tables.

    • I am looking for the same answer to that question, in a ma and pa operation what makes someone management when they are not making salary?

    • I was thinking the same thing. We don’t have a manager… We have a head waitress. My boyfriend tells me all the time that’s contradicting and is wrong. As she makes her own sections and the customers have the option to sit where ever they like. She makes sure her section is where everyone usually sits everyday. The owner has stated sections need to be rotated among waitresses but she could care less.

    • I work at a bar in bowling green ky.if we are short at the end of the night the servers and bartenders have to pay it to bar with our tip money.also if the salaried manager does anything serves ect we are forced to split our tips with manager equally.even when we are slow and do not need her.also if servers dont come in and the owners serve or clean up.we were forced to share our tips with the owners equally.we were asked if we wanted to share tips with the owners. We explained that we make 3 dollars a hr and we served 90 percent more.they had a 6000 dollar night.their income .we said in turn the owners bullyed us and forced us to share our tips equally with both owners.they threatened us by saying they were going to hire other people if we didnt agree to split with them because they stacked chairs and sat by the beer garden.both owners told us all we werent being a team player and if we didnt like it basically tough.and if we felt we needed to go somewhere else we could.

  6. The country club my daughter is a server for now has her painting walls. Is that legal?

    • So as a server in NC you get $2.11 an hr. So how can employers have you cleaning bathrooms, washing walls, mopping floors, etc. as a part of your side work.
      Can someone tell me if this is legal?

  7. Nobody should go into the restaurant industry. It is set up for the owners to lose.

    Instead, get a 4 year degree in English or History (Anything Liberal Arts).

    Make a 3.8 GPA.

    Go to Law School for 3 Years and act like you are smarter than the lord. Get a license to squeal and steal.

  8. At this job we do cashier(take food orders)
    Make the food orders

    Basically multitask. When we are left alone we have to do it all by ourselves and of course it can get overwhelming because we, as a pizza restaurant, should have items ready to go.

  9. oh and I forgot. we are a restaurant owned by a larger company. We are at times, left alone to worl.for more than 3hours.

    • My boss is a jerk. whenever he feels like to blame you for something he takes shifts away as punishment. We worked every shift about 6 to 8 hrs and never get breaks . If he caught you talking or socializing he yells at you saying is this what I paid you for? He is very arrogant I was just wondering can I do something?

      • Titiana, I am sorry to hear about your problems at work. It looks like your employer is violating Labor Code section 512 and applicable Wage Order which require all employers in CA to provide meal and rest breaks to each employee. If you have any further questions, feel free to call us. Sincerely, Alexei

  10. can employer classify a server as a contract employee to not paythem an hourly wage? we basically work for our tips only. and are required to do side work clean and even prepare meals with no compensation please help

    • If you work in CA, then this practice is illegal. With the exception of a few highly isolated instances, each employee is entitled to at least minimum wage. The tips cannot be credited by the employer to satisfy the requirements of minimum wage laws. Clearly, your employer owes you compensation.

  11. The employer I worked for never paid us over 50 hours a week, when I would work over 70 hours some weeks. They never deducted anything we tipped out. We tipped 6% of our sales and got taxed on the 6% that we tipped out. We were not allowed to report our wages at the end of the night, being told we had to claim $0.00. Ex: Our bus boys would have almost no income at the end of the year on their W2 (their only income was from servers and bartenders) while receiving money back and all the servers would owe upwards of 2,000-3,000 in taxes because they were paying their taxes essentially.

  12. My restaurant scheduled servers ” on call ” shifts which means the server has to call the restaurant at 3:00 that day to see if they need an extra server that night depending how busy it is .
    If a server does not call in for an ” on call” shift can the manager fire the server?
    Should the manager be paying the server to be “on call” even if they don’t end up needing the server that night?
    Is an ” on call” shift technically a shift that’s supposed to be paid for?
    The server has to wait all day and cannot make plans and has to be available in case the restaurant needs them. Shouldn’t the server me paid for that like an hourly minimum wage?
    Thanks for your help

  13. I know this is about the state of California but is it the same laws in Missouri? More specifically the law about bar owners not being able to take tips does that apply in the state of Missouri? I’d greatly appreciate to hear your answer thank you so much.

  14. It says that managers are not allowed to take the tips that were earned by other employees, but what if the manager is actually taking tables in their own section, like picking up extra shifts as a server, not a manager, even though she is on salary. Is this still a violation?

  15. If a customer leaves her phone on the table, and the server drops something on it, who is liable for the damage? Can the server be made to pay for repair or a new phone, if the restaurant refuses? Or is it the customer’s fault for leaving it out on the table?

    Just happened to a friend of mine (a server), and I don’t think he should have to pay for an honest mistake, which should have been foreseeable to the customer in a busy bar/restaurant.

  16. How is it ok to be hired as a dining room server in restaurant who used their restaurant staff to do room serviced because they refuse to hire seperate staff for that service?
    And if this is ok that they do this should I expect to be paid more?

  17. Hello-
    I appreciate any insight a law professional can offer. I work for a large retailer. My question is around 10 min breaks and “when practicable”. Our company policy is to have two people working at all times during business hours, it’s also the companies policy that the sales floor can never be unattended. So, if I were to take a ten min break and the other person working needed to grab a shoe from the stockroom the sales floor would be left unatended which is a HUGE no no. So as a result nobody ever takes ten min breaks on 5-8 hour shifts. Can anyone tell me if I were to file a wage claim for missed breaks if my claim would have any merit ? Thanks.

  18. Hello, I have a few questions actually. first of all what is the time limit for going after an employer who has seriously wronged you , ie stat of limitations? I worked at a restaurant for 14 years , the boss would deduct walkouts and or errors with orders or breakage. The boss also hired illegals to work in the kitchen who were paid cash well below the min wage , to help keep the kitchen staff at their low wage the boss would deduct 5% of our tips or approx. 1/3 of our tips to give to the kitchen staff to help supplement their $5 an hour wage. In addition we were required to tip out additional chefs 1/2 of some tips and the last 3 years the owner of the restaurant washed dishes and required each server put between 1 to 3 dollars every day in a tip cup for the owner. Finally , on my list of serious issues is , taxes… for the last 6 years at this job , the boss would manipulate the payroll in order to pay less on taxes. For instance if my check was supposed to be $320.00 in wages , he would deduct 1/2 of our worked hours and add those hours on your check as tips. so instead of being paid for 40 hours he would say pay you for 20 hours and say you made $160 in tips. This caused me many issues , not only when applying for a line of credit were my wages all messed up but at tax time I had to claim approx. an extra $6,000.00 per year as tips. By removing 1/2 my hours and claiming they were tips he never has to pay taxes on my tips and I had to reimburse the IRS my taxes every year. A couple of other things I had issues with was we had a party of 12 one night whose bill was a little over $200.00 and their child had some sort of food allergy and stopped breathing , the kid was hauled off in an ambulance with his whole family right behind , the boss would not pay out any tips or wages until that customer returned about a week later to pay their bill. Also we had pregnant waitress their whose hours were cut and she applied for partial employment and when he got the paperwork he verbally abused and assaulted this young girl and then fired her on the spot. Real winner here ehh? any suggestions about this piece of work would be wonderful. Thanks for your time

    • correction: I meant: the boss would deduct 5% of our sale or approx. 1/3 of our tips

  19. What about foodserver rights in Las Vegas,Nv?

  20. My manager asks me to take my break after 6 hours work without being paid, even if I am still on duty. Also, our managers get tips from servers. What can I do?

    • Meal breaks generally need to be provided without the first five hours of work and they must be uninterrupted and off-duty. It sounds like your managers are not in compliance with California Labor code sections 512 and 226.7. You definitely need to bring this into attention of your management and ask them to correct their policies. If the company refuses to make changes, you can always contact the Labor Commissioner in your area or a private attorney. If you are located in the Bay Area, you can contact our office to discuss your problem further.

    • I work in a hotel as a in room dining server. We opened new restaurant. They were gonna cut ird department but due to some circumstances they couldn’t cut it yet. They have minimize the ird menu. Inspite of menu being that short still everyday they have half of the items are 86 means not available. We have talked to our bosses number of occasions but still nothing changed. We can’t make money because of the stuff which we don’t have to sell. Can I sue my employer for negligence of their duty.

  21. I am server at an ihop restaurant, I was terminated for not paying for two dine n dash customers that did not pay for their food during our busiest time of the night.
    In addition to the restaurant being understaffed there wasn’t enough food prepared for a busy night

  22. My daughter in-law is a waitress and her boss (owner) prohibits all employees from clocking in until customers show up. They are required to do all set ups off the clock, including cleaning up after a shift has ended.

    Recently he told her that she owed him 3 hours of work off the clock for paperwork he had to complete on her behalf for Medi-Cal. Since he does not offer insurance Medi-Cal was trying to verify her employment period.

    From what she has told me all of his employees have being doing this for years .. they are afraid of retaliation & getting fired if they complain.

  23. I’m a server and we can’t take brakes due to short in staff but the time clock automatically deducts 30min just resentful that we have found out that the time clock does this… The bookkeeper resently has added the 30 min back but has not added into the right spot preventing us to get paid overtime.what can I do about this, I’ve worked there over 10 years?

  24. Who can we take our problems to? To help us? As I am in a tough situation with work, and I need something to be done?

  25. I work for a restaurant that does catering on the side. as caterers we are paid an hourly wage, but on the bill that each business we cater to receives, it has a ‘gratuity’ bill, however that gratuity goes to the owner of the restaurant. is this legal?

  26. I work split shifts what this restaurant calls doubles. My employers deduct 30 of time on the clock on one of those two shots and deem it unpaid! Is this legal cuz I’m basically paying to wor!? $ plz hel

  27. My question is in relation to the new sick time regulations in CA. As a waiter, is this sick time payable at the minimum wage level or is it payable at the actual level of income in the way disability or unemployment is calculated?

  28. My wife is a waitress at a internationally known 50’s diner. She is recognized as the best server in the diner along side with one other co-worker. She never misses a day of work unless she is unable to perform due to sickness or other means. (In this case her car broke down on freeway) She called in to tell her manager that her car is down and that she couldn’t make it to work (40 miles away) cause she had to get it towed and to a mechanic in order to fix it. Well her manager was really upset that this happened to her. So when my wife went to work the next day and viewed her work schedule for the next 2 weeks, my wife’s hours were cut drastically and her days off were the days she makes the most money in tips which is Friday’s, Saturday’s and Sundays. No servers or hostesses get the weekends off ever. So as a punishment for calling out her hours were cut and work days were scheduled on the days that business is the slowest and on top of that her manager put her to work in the section of the diner where almost nobody is seated. The same thing happened again as my wife was sick and called out. She had sick time for both instances and was treated like carp for it. As compared to the other employees which always call out/ always late and are never punished for their irresponsibility. We are now in jeopardy of losing our apartment and her car is on the verge of repossession. Is this kind of action illegal for her manager take out on my wife or any employees for this matter?

  29. I have been working at this restraint for over 10 years and last year my boss asked me to do him a favor and work the night shift until he could find someone to do it.Which basically means I got a pay cut. Since then he has hired two people to work but has put them on days.I Keep Asking Him When. I will be put back on days and he says he is trying .Both of the new hires are Spanish speaking men. I would like to believe tha the this has nothing to do with my situation but I think it might because all the other servers except for one are Spanish speaking

  30. If my employer charges a guest a fee of $150 for “chef attendant” for a carving station and I am sent to work that station for 2 hrs. am I entitled to any of the $150 as part of my wage for the time I was in the room? Or, should I be included in the “service pool” for all the Banquet servers that worked the event and were part of the tip?

  31. I’m looking for an answer to my question if a manager hires family members and is effecting other employees what should the employees do

  32. The restaurant I work at will have us work shifts more than 6 hours, and then go into the computer system and edit are hours so that it appears we worked 3 hours, took a 30 minute break (which we didn’t), and clock us on for another 3 hours. I have evidence that I’ve worked the 6 hours straight through.
    I hear you when you say, “discuss this with management”, but we all know that this will surely lead to consequences.
    What compensation can be expected at a minimum for taking action? I’m not doing anything until I’m in a position to leave this job, because I’ll surely be “let go” if I try to bring this up.

  33. My son’s manager got mad at the whole crew and wouldn’t let any of them have their paychecks on their original payday. Is this allowed?

  34. My boss doesn’t pay in check but in cash. He never give me a lunch or a break. He always makes me stay after work. Like if i work 10am to 10pm he doesnt give me a break or a lunch. Then he makes stay until everything is cleaned up. So i stay 30min or 45min . Everday. That i dont get paid for.Then he has his fat friend come and hes just staring at me all day like a pervert. I dont say nothing cuz i really need the job. Is there anything i can do? And i been working there over a year.

  35. Im a wait res in a laundry’s restaurant, we take 30 min break every shift working almost 8 hrs 5 or 6 times a week not 10 min break, we have to Work on holladas eventual e en that day is not in our availavily, I had schedules for break people 8 hrs for this nexo easter day with not tipos,not free metal not more país that The mínimum…. This os right?

  36. This is a 2 part question. I am a server in the bay area. At the restaurant i work, we do not get breaks at all. We do not get 10 minutes or a 30 minute meal break, unless we are on a double. Our shifts are ypically less than 6. HOWEVER, recently i have gotten on my GM’s bad side as a result of a contest he himself announced. He wanted our Yelp reviews to go from three and a half stars to 4 so he said anyone who got a 5-star review on any social media that mentioned our name we would be paid $25 cash for each review. In the seven months I’ve worked there I have received more positive reviews emails from customers directly to corporate as well as customers pulling a side management to tell them what a good job I did than any other employee there. So when he said we would be paid $25 cash per each positive review I took it seriously and I work that much harder to get positive reviews. I got 3. My manager refuses to pay me for the reviews? So 1st question, is there anything I can do to actually be paid the $75 I rightfully earned? 2nd part, because I did ask him twice if I could get the money I have rubbed him wrong and suddenly he is keeping me on and cutting everybody else even though I was the first person on by at least an hour or two hours. As a result i have work three 7 hour shifts in the last week, without taking even a 10 minute break. I believe that means that i am entitled to 3 hours of break premium pay. I have worked over 6 hours at this restaurant in the past and they do not pay the additional hour for working over 6 hours without a break. I save all of my clock in/out slips. I want to provide them with the documentation of the fact that I did work 7 hours 3 shifts an ask for the 3 additional hours of break premium pay. But i want to confirm that i am entitled to it first. I did ( as everyone else has) sign a break waiver agreement at the time of hire. Does this bar me from being paid for working over 6 hours without any breaks?

  37. Hi. Im Working in a pizzaria as a delivery driver , but when I’m not delivering pizza I’m work inside the restaurant, doing dishes, buser, replacement salad on buffet, preparing salad and cleaning.
    The company pays me per hour and the manager never share with me the walk incostumers tip

    • Is it correct?
      What are my rights?

  38. My boyfriend works as a manager here in Tallahassee fl. He has worked there now for 2 years now as a manager he’s supposed to have already gotten his pairs week vacation he was supposed to get it last year but didn’t because the switched corporates but they can’t give him his week vacation because they don’t have enough manager’s so they are understaffed and the new owner has people lined up for the job but she never gets in touch with the people to get it done and it’s not right my boyfriend has worked his ass off for these people he used to get 3 days off now he only gets 2 days off and every time someone calls out he goes in for them and yes gets payed for overtime but why can’t he get his vacation just because of laziness

    • He works as a manager at McDonald’s

  39. I worked two weeks at a place and she never put me in the computer. I was logging my hr on paper. Can she take taxes out of my pay never really filled out any paperwork?

  40. I work in a restaurant where I clock in and am told to immediately clock out for a break within 5 minutes to get it over with. Also when hired, the restaurant manager never asked for any form of ID (social security number, drivers license, etc.) neither did they have me fill out what I wanted to claim on my paycheck (single 1, single 9, etc.). He automatically put me in as S-1 withholding. The manager also (I’m a serve) takes out 8 % of my credit card sales and without me authorizing it withholds it to be taxed on my paycheck without my permission. He says it’s just a “policy”. I’m sure there’s some time modification adjustments (to make my breaks fall in the middle of the shift) and to add to that I’ve been there for a few months with no one asking for a food handlers card. Is it me or are there some major violations going on? I’m not the only employee that this all happens to.

    • They make us take our 30 minutes break when we get to work too, 6:30 in the morning we have to clock in and out , the restaurant doesn’t open until 7 , so we can’t eat and we have to set up during our break..I would like to know if that’s legal

  41. I work at a place where the owner has a 20 year old manager and this manager isn’t a server in any way and he will take tables and collect tips my whole shift!!! Needless to say he is also being payed 13$ hourly on top of this and isn’t being taxed like how I am. He also doesn’t do any side work I don’t know if this is leagel in any way but I do know that it’s not fair for someone who can’t serve half as well as I can take money away from me and my co workers and not even be taxed or payed the same as me.

  42. In the state of Georgia, can an employer send you, a part time employer, home early? Therefore you are not working the hours they have scheduled for you. Example, you are part time and you are scheduled to work from 5 to 10 but they send you home at 830.

  43. It sounds like maybe Oregon laws are the same as California? My daughter works for a place that will take money from her paycheck if she doesn’t make tips during her shift. This seems super shady and illegal. Has anyone heard loud this before?

  44. Could you email this to me

  45. I’m scheduled for 9 hour days, with an hour lunch. But instead of getting that hour lunch, I’m consistently told I only get a half hour, giving me a half hour overtime every day. I do not want overtime, but apparently it’s mandatory.

    Let’s say, in the state of Nevada, I take my hour lunch anyway. Can they fire me for that? Abd if so, could I despute that with unemployment? Because A half hour after spending hours on a phone (roadside assistance) is draining as hell. and we don’t get to even breath between calls.

  46. Is it legal for a restaurant to have you train unpaid before officially hiring you?

  47. My manager(s) “fix” our times. So if we come in early and there’s a rush, or if closers end up having to take extra time to lock up, they go in and change the times to what on the schedule without even telling us. We sometimes end up working an hour or more without being paid for it. When we complain about it, they tell us to work faster.

  48. I charge to the wrong table
    And the manager make me pay the difference. It’s that legal???

  49. Comment

  50. My daughter was fired from her server job in California, the restaurant crew went wine tasting off the clock, and of course they all had to much to drink. Her manager start speaking and touching her inappropriately. She rejected him and had verbal confrontation with him. She went to work two days later and the Owner told her she was being let go because she was ” Not a Fit”. She had no previous write ups, or warnings. was told they are “at will”, and have the right to let her go with.
    She is young and afraid she wont be able to work in our town if she make waves, and of course she didnt keep her Employee handbook with policies. Any suggestions?

  51. I work with house cleaning. Currently cleaned 37 different houses per month. This year’s end I discovered that my boss got tips from 30 of these houses. And the houses that the owners told me were giving money, in case 7 he got most of the money. If they gave $ 100 he would only give me $ 25. What do I do? Is there any law to protect me?

  52. Can an employer make a change to your pay without notifying you? When the new year rolled over my boss changed rate of pay without notifying. Found out by picking up check and seeing it had been changed.

  53. The owner wants my co-worker and I that worked on a banquet together to pay back on a tip that the guest called in a week later saying she thinks she over paid. We paid out 35% of that tip to the bar, runner and busses. Is this legal?

  54. I work in a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant and if it’s not busy we get send home even if we have only worked for 2 hours. Is that legal this is in El Paso. .
    The manager that schedules us doesn’t give us enough hours sometimes we make less than 20 hours a week.

  55. I work at a restaurant that does large private parties. Sometimes the tip is more than the restaurant has in its safe at the end of the night. they keep track of parties and tip outs and tip us later that month. But sometimes they don’t tip us for weeks or months. How long can they wait to tip us out on our work? Is there a legal time period that they can wait to tip us?

  56. I owned a restaurant, but even prior to that I understood the basic laws. I found this article because I have a niece who is being raked through the coals by her employer. Someone I know who is a fraud. I jjst wanted to make sure nothing had changed since i cmosed my biz. Owners who violate laws are either ignorant or just think they’re above the law. Never let so.eone take advantage of you!!!!!! Call the labor board!

  57. Is an employer aloud to all of a sudden one day change how you get paid in credit card tips. We have to wait a week for all credit card tips. It is put in our aycheck now. Is this legal to make us wait a week for our tips

  58. I was wondering can I firer my employee if they request their paycheck when its due

  59. Hello i work at a restaurant. I am a bussser. I was wondering if its unlawful for our manager to make us perform different tasks such as taking a completly different job such as expoditing food considering its not my job. Or vice versa.

  60. In the State of California, My employer has rotated stations with the servers for more than 3 decades which is great because we all tae our turn at good and bad stations. But suddenly they are now allowing 5 servers that have been designated as trainers pick their own stations, (the more lucrative) and the rest of us have to skip those stations but still stay in our rotation. Is that legal?

  61. I hit a coworker ut side work. Can I lose my uninploment

  62. I worked in the same place for 11 years, then I got some betrayals of a colworker so I lost it. I went to her at her other job. And slapped her 2 times

  63. I cant figure out how to shut this guy down.
    This guy owns a pizza restaurant.
    Pays people whatever he can get away with. like $7.00 an hour.
    No W2s no tax write-offs nothing stating u work there, he refuses to give receipts of your pay stubs. he’s a really big turd. he fires everyone every month and hires a new staff then fires them again so he doesn’t claim anyone that works for him on his taxes. I’ve seen him fire someone for throwing out a to-go container that fell on the floor, He then picked said container up and washed it in the sink with just water then served it.
    The restaurant is ILYNY pizza on elkam blvd In Deltona FL 32738

  64. I was wondering is it legal for my boss to fill out my tax papers when I start a job? I do get a pay stub and it tells the hours I work gross pay knit pay year-to-date the money the money that is taken out for my meals but he never once asked me how many I wanted to claim because I do have child support deducted so I will not see my income tax refund check at the end of the year anyways so I might as well get as much money as I can on my biweekly paycheck I have asked my boss numerous times to provide and show me what he filled out when I started working the job I have been here almost a year and I have yet to get any type of papers from him. I thought when you started a new job it was your responsibility to sign your w-2s or i9 or w-4 whatever it is that you are supposed to sign when you start a new job. The owner also if we are short-handed he will call people who used to work here and have them come in and he will pay them cash for working that day with no taxes being taken out and here I am busting my ass excuse my language and when were short-handed he will just call someone in or have them scheduled to come in on say a Monday a Wednesday and Friday and still will pay them cash no taxes deducted. I asked him if he could do that for me for just a little while because child support is eating me alive I don’t even see half of my check I can barely afford to live and he will not do it for me. But when we are short on help he will pick up the phone and call someone he has fired and say do you want to come in and work today for $80 for 8 hours that really makes me mad because that’s even more money than I am making. And I am considered a lead the other lead gets $100 bonus every 2 weeks and my boss still refuses to give me a bonus I am doing everything that the general manager does except making out a schedule that is the only difference and she makes a lot more money than any of us I was just wondering what this man is doing is it against the law and if so what can be done about it? Is he committing tax fraud? Actually today me and the big man actually had words I told him I would do my job as I am paid he can have the keys back to the store to the safe to the lockbox I am the one who counts people’s drawers a handle all money do all refunds and I get paid what a average employee gets paid he does not see my frustration today I told him you get what you pay for that’s why I told him I was demoting myself he would never really put a label on my position and I think the only reason he does that is so he does not have to pay me the hundred dollar bonus every 2 weeks! I just think that he is a really shady guy I bust my butt for him and I get no appreciation not to mention the laws that I know he is breaking I just don’t know the consequences. I have told him about the drug use and the bums that come in here I have found needles in the restroom that the employees have to share with the public and it’s a bathroom for men and women only one bathroom for the whole restaurant SMH when I use the restroom it literally takes me about 20 minutes because I will wipe the toilet down with Clorox wipes use hand sanitizer clean the sink out I do all this before using the restroom and then have to do it again when I am done so I can go perform my job duties. I cannot count how many syringes I have found on the floor sitting on the sink I have brought that to his attention as well I don’t know what his problem is. I know I have made this a extremely long post but if someone could please be kind enough to tell me about how he pays people under the table when there is not enough people to fill a shift and how I have never filled out any type of tax papers since I have been here but yet taxes are being taken out on me I thought that I at least had to put my signature on the papers. I mean you would think that that would be considered for jury signing someone else’s name to talk papers I have read numerous things one thing will say this one will say something different but I’m almost to hundred percent sure that he is breaking the law by feeling out my tax papers I feel I should Italy get to see them and he never wants asked me how many I wanted to claim. Again sorry for such the long post just very frustrated I want to quit but I cannot do that until I have another job lined up and waiting. Oh one more thing today he pretty much told me not to come in because I have COPD when I asked him are you firing me because I have COPD and I laughed and told him that he would be hearing from my attorney he said come on in the front counter it has air you won’t get too hot. But prior to that he told me that I had to have a doctor’s note stating that it was okay for me to work but then he has me come in it’s like he totally contradicted his self I completely forgot all about that because once I threatened him would calling my attorney he immediately said well the front counter has air come on into work because he had originally told me not to come in and when I said so are you firing me because I have COPD? I said you will be hearing from my attorney everything changed a owner or manager cannot fire you over a health issue can they? Especially if I am not letting it get in the way of the way I do my job. Any info would be greatly appreciated

  65. Where can I get the legal info for #5??? I was punished and told to clock out when my client walked out as a punishment to mw.

  66. The owners of the restuarant that I work in are the hostesses. They seat where and who they want to seat. One or two servers always get the most tables in the same sections. Their sales and tips are always over double what mine are because she doesn’t like me. Is this legal??

  67. My daughter started working at a restaurant and was told by the owner that she will not get tips until she is eighteen. She is 16 currently. Arizona

  68. My boss would make us “pay back the restaurant” for all the food that we served as servers. I would get paid 2.25hr so I depend on my tips. I would gain around 60$ of tips and after paging back the restaurant I would leave with between 25% or 30$. Dunno if this is a scam but after 3 weeks of working there I saw that I was losing money instead of gaining so I quit!

  69. I am a server / bartender for a large restaurant chain in Northern California. One of my managers is allowed to serve tables and collect tips and not supervise those shifts but most days he is my supervisor. Is that legal? It’s especially frustrating when he is serving tables with me and still expects me to follow his command. I feel like he uses his power to bully me. What should I do?

  70. At my job, within the last week or two, they have decided, no food breaks, go home. I understand if it is slow to send someone home, but I can honestly say that within the past 10 work days, I have only gotten to stay and work my full shift 4 times. I was raised to work and earn my money, so that’s what I do. While my coworkers sit on their phones and talk, I am constantly working, but I always get sent home any where from 1- 3 hours early while they get to stay their full shifts just playing on their phones and going on smoke breaks every hour that they are there. Although when I brought it up, the next day, I noticed that my schedule had been cut to the point where no matter what, if it’s slow, I’m the one that is always going to be the one sent home early. Is this even legal?

  71. My daughters restaurant was just taken over by a new company. The new policy is that they will be told what their sales are but cannot see their paperwork. They are to trust the managers to tell them what their sales are, how much to pay the company and how much to tip the help staff. This sounds sketchy. Is it legal?

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