Unfortunately, many cases of abuse in the restaurant industry and violations of labor rights are committed. Because many workers in the restaurant business primarily work for tips, restaurant owners will take advantage of this to skirt labor laws that should apply to every industry, including the restaurant industry.
Some employers also take advantage of the unresolved immigration status of many workers and their constant fear of deportation for not fulfilling their obligations, acting as if undocumented workers did not have labor rights. However, the labor laws of the United States apply to everyone, and knowing your rights if you work in the restaurant industry is crucial to protect yourself.
Law of Fair Labor Standards
The Fair Labor Standards Act, commonly called the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act), contains a series of federal regulations that establish issues such as minimum wage, overtime pay, file maintenance, and employment of children under age both in the private sector (companies, businesses) and in public sector jobs (federal, state, or local government institutions).
The minimum wage is the lowest amount allowed by law that an employer can pay hourly. The federal minimum wage is set at $ 7.25 an hour, and that figure is compelling as of July 24, 2009. Most states also have minimum state salaries greater than the federal minimum. There are restaurants that, taking advantage of the guests’ custom to give tips for the service, offer the waiters salaries below the minimum, which, according to the FLSA, is an illegal practice.
The payment of overtime is another employee’s right established by the FLSA. Every employee who works more than 40 hours a week is entitled to 1.5 times for each additional hour. Restaurant employees often spend 12 hours a day more than five times a week but do not receive overtime payments, which violates federal labor laws. The employer must also keep a record of the hours worked and paid to each employee.
In the case of underage employees, the FLSA requires that the minor have a work permit from their state, that they do not work more than 3 hours on school days or 8 hours on “free” days, with a maximum of 18 hours a week. In the case of work in restaurants, there are also restrictions on the type of activities allowed to a minor worker. The complex tasks of cooking or handling ovens and pressure fryers and machines with blades (blenders, cutters, etc.) are prohibited. It is also not allowed to drive cars for work reasons (delivery, etc.) or to serve alcoholic beverages.
If the job requires employees to wear a uniform, that uniform’s cost must be considered an operating expense of the employer. If the employer requires the employee to assume the cost, it must not reduce the employee’s salary below the minimum wage or reduce overtime payments.
The employer must have the official FLSA poster or poster placed in a visible restaurant for employee reference. This poster contains the most important information about rights established by the FLSA and comes in six languages.
The Occupational Health and Safety Law
There is another group of federal norms that seek to guarantee the welfare of every worker. These standards are part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act).
OSHA exists to prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths occurring in the workplace. In the case of work in restaurants, it establishes several requirements, such as mandatory rest periods, the details established by each state. For example, in a state, rest periods of ten minutes are required for every four hours worked. OSHA also establishes periods to eat in longer days, half an hour for every five hours worked.About Complete Controller® – America’s Bookkeeping Experts Complete Controller is the Nation’s Leader in virtual bookkeeping, providing service to businesses and households alike. Utilizing Complete Controller’s technology, clients gain access to a cloud platform where their QuickBooks™️ file, critical financial documents, and back-office tools are hosted in an efficient SSO environment. Complete Controller’s team of certified US-based accounting professionals provide bookkeeping, record storage, performance reporting, and controller services including training, cash-flow management, budgeting and forecasting, process and controls advisement, and bill-pay. With flat-rate service plans, Complete Controller is the most cost-effective expert accounting solution for business, family-office, trusts, and households of any size or complexity.