Law Offices of Louis Spitters

Sports bar accused of avoiding overtime payment to kitchen staff

Working in a restaurant kitchen can require extensive hours and a great deal of hard work. Some positions in the kitchen have managerial titles, but not every instance should classify the California workers as exempt from receiving payment for overtime. If the workers believe they are not being paid correctly, they may choose to take legal action to claim the compensation they believe they are owed. Recently, a former kitchen manager filed a complaint on behalf of himself and others because he believes they were misclassified and exempted from overtime.

According to the complaint, the kitchen managers, assistant kitchen managers and cooks were classified into managerial positions which exempted them from overtime. The facility managers who had supervisory roles were classified correctly since they did administrative work, but the kitchen staff in question were allegedly placed into the same category. Those who worked in the kitchen managerial positions did not have any responsibility for the regular operations of the facility, and the lawsuit contends that the affected workers should have not been classified as exempt.

Allegedly, the kitchen staff regularly worked over 60 hours a week and did not receive overtime. This activity apparently went on for the last three years and possibly longer. The lawsuit states that the company knowingly did not pay the staff correctly in order to increase profits and decrease payroll costs.

The company argued it compensated the plaintiff for the hours worked through paid vacation and bonuses. The sports bar attempted to have the case thrown out of court but was unsuccessful. If the case is properly navigated, the impacted workers may receive payment for the regular and overtime wages they are seeking as well as legal fees and other financial damages. California workers who believe that they are being paid improperly have the right to file claims to attempt to collect the compensation to which they believe they are entitled.

Source: heraldonline, "Lawsuit claims Bully's lists cooks as execs to dodge OT", Scott Sonner, Feb. 22, 2015

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