Restaurant workers accuse employers of serving up unfair payment

Those who work in the hospitality business put in long hours under constant pressure, especially those who work for popular restaurants. When a worker believes that he or she is not being compensated fairly under the wage and hour laws that dictate payment, that worker is entitled to seek a suitable remedy to the problem. While the majority of California workers are justly compensated, there are avenues to correct a discrepancy when one occurs.

Recently, restaurant employees from the Founding Fathers chain filed suit against the company owners. They alleged that though they were hired at one particular location, they were often required to work at a secondary location. In spite of the expectation that these employees would work at two locations, they alleged that their hours were not totalled together; therefore, they were not paid the overtime wages they were owed even when their combined hours exceeded 40 per week.

Along with the allegations of unpaid overtime, workers claimed that they were paid at a lower tip wage than the law allowed when they were compensated for overtime. Furthermore, according to the lawsuit, workers were required to attend meetings before their scheduled shifts for which they were not paid. They also were purportedly required to obtain their own supplies for work, including uniforms and order taking implements.

Along with the above allegations, workers claimed that they were prohibited from using their accrued sick time leave in spite of the fact that state laws mandate that sick hours are accrued at the rate of one hour per 43 hours worked. The owners of this chain have denied any wrongdoing and stated that these types of payment disputes are common in the industry and are not valid. The suit was only recently filed, but legal representatives expressed the hopes that the case may qualify as a class action suit, thereby allowing past employees to join. Just as these workers obtained the assistance of employment law attorneys, California employees are entitled to take similar measures when they face such circumstances.

Source: The Washington Post, "Founding Farmers restaurants are accused of wage and overtime violations", Tim Carman, June 8, 2017

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