Speak to an Employee Rights Attorney For Restaurant Workers For Legal Help
For people in all walks of life, the restaurant industry offers excellent employment opportunities. It gives employees the opportunity to interact with customers, learn about service, and earn a substantial living. While industry can sometimes be demanding and difficult, it should never be inhumane. In the state of California, restaurant workers have rights.
WHAT ARE RESTAURANT WORKERS’ RIGHTS?
As a worker in California, your rights are protected and enforced by the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). This division is responsible for investigating and resolving labor code violations and issues about discrimination, wages, hours, working conditions, and more. Whether documented or undocumented, you are protected by state laws. Here are a few of the rights you are promised:
- Minimum Wage. Restaurant workers are to be paid no less than the legal minimum wage, whether measured by time, commission, piece rate, or some other method of calculation. With some minor exceptions, all wages earned are due at a minimum of twice each calendar month.
- Rest Period. Restaurant workers are permitted a net 10-minute rest period for every four hours worked. If you do not receive a rest period, your employer is required to pay an additional hour of pay at your regular rate.
- Meal Period. If you work more than five hours, you are entitled to a 30 minute meal period in which you shall be relieved of all work duties and obligations. If you do not receive a meal period, your employer is required to pay an additional hour of pay at your regular rate.
- Workers’ Comp. If you are hurt or injured on the job, your employer is required to provide you with appropriate medical care.
- Proper Tools and Supplies. You should be provided with the uniforms, supplies, and tools necessary to complete your job duties. If you are required to use your own vehicle for work responsibilities, your employer is required to reimburse all related expenses.
- More. As a restaurant worker in California, you have dozens of other rights and freedoms, such as tips and more. For more information on your rights as an employee, contact an employment lawyer in Los Angeles.
CALIFORNIA LAWS FOR TIPPED EMPLOYEES
If you work in the restaurant business, tips are a determinant factor for how much you take home each week. Therefore, you should be well-aware of your rights as an employee. If you are a server, bartender, or whatever the case may be, tips from satisfied customers often add up to being more than actual hourly wages paid by employers.
When it comes to calculating tips, there are certain laws in place to protect restaurant workers. All restaurant workers should be aware of the basic rules of tips to avoid getting taken advantage of; however if a problem does arise with your employer regarding your owed tips, then it is important to know that you are protected by federal and state laws. In California Laws for Tipped Employees, you will find more information that will bring you clarity as a restaurant worker in California. State laws vary and not all are the same for tipped employees.
IS IT LEGAL FOR EMPLOYERS TO DEDUCT CREDIT CARD PROCESSING FEES FROM TIPS?
Many service employees rely on receiving tips from customers on a day-to-day basis to make ends meet. Whether the tip is received in cash, or by card you are entitled to receiving exactly what you were given. Credit card tips pose a financial threat or burden for restaurant owners. Most times, credit card processing fees may cut their profits in half. To offset the expenses an owner may pull money from service tips that were paid by credit card. In the state of California, it is illegal for employers to deduct fees from tips that resulted from your hard work.
RESTAURANT LABOR LAWS
Most restaurant workers work harder and for less pay than other employees in the industry. Whether it is waitresses, cooks, or others, individuals in these positions barely make ends meet. Many restaurants choose to take advantage of their employees in these situations and ignore numerous laws that have been in place for decades. Rules and regulations are violated on a daily basis in this field of work--whether it is how much workers should be paid, or the number of hours minors can work within an establishment--these are factors that should never be overlooked and violated. If you are a restaurant worker, it is important to know your rights. In Restaurant Labor Laws, we have composed a list of how you are protected.
10 COMMON LABOR CODE VIOLATIONS
As a restaurant worker, employees are required to put in long hours in order to provide excellent food and service. Oftentimes restaurant workers are not treated fairly in terms of their pay, hours and working conditions. Employees have little choice but to do whatever is asked of them and hope for the best. Believe it or not, many employers do not work in compliance with federal and state laws and as a result, commit many labor code violations. Our team has composed a list of the 10 Common Labor Code Violations Committed by restaurant employers, and as an employer, it is important to know that you are protected. If you have experienced any of these labor code violations, contact a Los Angeles restaurant workers rights lawyer today for a free consultation.
TOP 10 EMPLOYMENT LAW VIOLATIONS IN THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY
As an employee, it may be useful to become familiar with the most common violations in the restaurant industry. In the fast-paced industry, it is notorious for them to take place by an employer. We list the top 10 employment law violations to help you determine if you need to hire a lawyer.
WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT EXCEPTIONS TO “AT-WILL” EMPLOYMENT IN CALIFORNIA
At-will employment in California means an employer can fire an employee at any time. Similarly, an employee can leave without reason. Exceptions to “at-will” employment include:Implied Contract Exception:
Implied contracts may not be in writing, it can still be considered legally binding. In these situations, employees who have been long-term employees of the business, or who have been told by their employer that they will have a job for the foreseeable future suddenly get fired.Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing:
If your politics do not align with your employer’s and they fire you or engage in retaliation as a result.Public Policy Exception:
When an employee is fired because of refusing to break a law violates a public policy or reports unlawful actions of the employer.Fraud and Misrepresentation:
If an employer makes fraudulent claims to persuade you to accept a job offer and does not act on the promises made.
WHAT ARE THE LABOR LAWS FOR WORKING AN 8 HOUR STRAIGHT SHIFT?
You can work an 8-hour shift straight without taking a break, but your employer is legally required to provide the option to you. Taking a break is beneficial throughout the day, especially if you are swamped taking orders, shifting in and out the kitchen, or cleaning. Not only does it improve your health, but also has a positive impact on the rest of your day.
California requires a 30-minute break every five hours for employees working six hours or less. The time limit of the meal break increases the more hours you take on throughout the day. Anything between 10 and 20 minutes is considered a short break and must be paid for by the employer. However, a meal break does not have to be paid. It is up to the employer whether they choose to compensate you for the mealtime.
CALIFORNIA LAWS ON MEAL AND REST BREAKS
Regardless of your profession, employees normally have breaks built into a shift. Under California’s labor law, non-exempt employees who work more than five hours a day are required to take a 30-minute lunch break within the first five hours. Employees that work more than 10 hours should be taking another 30-minute meal break.
Rest breaks are similar, but slightly different. For every four hours worked, an employee should be taking 10-minute breaks. There are times, as a restaurant worker, where you may not be taking the full meal break – and that is okay as long as you are not restricted from doing so by your employer.
In attempts to skirt state and federal laws, some employers will try to create a new definition for "bona fide" breaks. These breaks, generally defined as situations where employees are relieved of all duties during the break period, can vary among employers. A meal break is normally considered bona fide if it lasts for at least 30 minutes. Federal law pertaining to these breaks only applies if an employer allows employees to take breaks. Read on for more information on meal and rest breaks.
YOUR RIGHTS AS AN EMPLOYEE
The Federal Labor Standards Act may not have a mandated rule for employers to give their staff a break, but the state of California does. To know exactly how it works in the industry, you should refer to our article: Meal and Rest Breaks: Your Rights as an Employee. As a dedicated law firm, we look out for the best interests of our clients. If you fear you may get fired or face retaliation for requesting time off for lunch, or a quick break you should consult with one of our attorneys. It is your right to be able to take a break, even if you choose not to.
CALIFORNIA WAGE AND HOUR LAWS FOR RESTAURANT WORKERS
Wage and hour laws establish the standards for minimum wages, tips, and regulations concerning overtime, and rest breaks. They set out clear rules and guidelines for employers and employees, so that each party understands their duties and obligations.
The Federal Department of Labor sets the base rate wage at $7.25 per hour. However, each state has its own minimum wage laws. In California, as of January 1, 2021 minimum wage for employers with less than 25 or less employees are $13.00 per hour; employers with 26 or more employees minimum wage are $14.00 per hour.
We recognize that the restaurant business can be unpredictable and demanding. For the long hours worked, you should be compensated every step of the way. Whether it is regular work hours or overtime, then you must be paid for it. Though, overtime has a few more perks. If you work more than 12 hours in a day, your employer must, according to California law, pay you double time. If you work seven days during the week, the employer must on the seventh day pay you time and a half for the first eight hours and double time for each additional hour worked. Read on for more information regarding wages in California.
CAN I SUE MY EMPLOYER FOR PAYING LESS THAN MINIMUM WAGE?
As an employee you should never agree to work for less than the minimum wage. The restaurant you are working for is obligated to provide and meet the standard rate. Civil Code 1668 and 3513 legally enforce this law. If you are not getting paid minimum wage you can file a wage claim with the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (Labor Commissioner’s Office) or directly sue an employer for violating the law. There are some specific exceptions that may allow an employer to pay less than the base rate. This article breaks down why certain groups may receive less than minimum wage and additional information on the associated laws.
ON-CALL TIME: ARE YOU ENTITLED TO BE PAID FOR ON-CALL TIME?
On-call time is when employees should expect to be called into work, when they are not actually performing job duties. The designated timeframe your employer provides is when you should be available for work, if needed. Being on-call means that your time is not your own, and sometimes employees are taken advantage of.
If you show up to work during the on-call time slot, your employer is required to pay you for this time, as you are physically waiting and prepared to begin work. Employees that do not stay at work while being on call should still be compensated, but it can vary, as they are not physically on the job. To prevent a dispute, employers should disclose specific restrictions on what on-call staff can and cannot do while waiting. This can include responding within minutes to their place of work, not being allowed to drink alcohol while on-call, or other restrictions. Read on for more information regarding on-call work in the restaurant industry.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR RESTAURANTS AND BARS: COVID-19
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc on American life, especially the hospitality industry. Restaurants across the country have been forced to close their doors for good, or quickly adapt to change. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have provided precautions for safer working conditions and dining conditions to protect staff and customers. You should adjust your operations and service to meet the needs and circumstances of your community. This article offers considerations for restaurants and bars in California, as we all adapt during a time of uncertainty to lower the risk of spreading the virus.
LAW OFFICES OF MANN & ELIAS
With more than 40 years of combined experience, Scott Mann and Imad Elias have the skill necessary to provide you with high quality legal representation in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange, Ventura, San Diego, and San Bernardino counties. Contact us today for a free case review and initial consultation. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis and never charge until there is a recovery.