Payroll Violations: Stealing Tips, Deducting Pay and Ignoring Overtime
People who work in the service industry are often subject to the whims of patrons and supervisors. Weekly pay rates may be affected by minimum wage laws, hours scheduled, tips accumulated, overtime rate enforcement, punitive policies and other employment practices that affect income. Many workers cannot rely on a steady paycheck if their managers engage in unfair practices that dramatically reduce wages.
This precise problem is why Brian Kim — a former chef at a Benihana restaurant in Miami — is suing the franchise in a class action alleging that managers underpaid workers by deducting tips from the chef’s pay, refusing to pay chefs for overtime hours worked and retaliating against workers who complained. According to the lawsuit, the chefs are joining together to seek compensation for unpaid and lost wages, interest, costs and reimbursement for attorneys’ fees.
This instance alone illustrates why the Fair Labor Standards Act exists. The law ensures fairness in the administration of wages by setting minimum ethical standards for employers across the country. Hourly workers are entitled to the following:
- The minimum wage has been set at $7.25 per hour, as of July 24, 2009, and it applies to certain categories of employers.
- Overtime must be paid to employees who work more than 40 hours in a week, and it is calculated at one-and-a-half times their regular pay.
- A tip credit reimburses employees working in a service-based industry who earn a cash wage of at least $2.13 per hour but less than minimum wage. The credit requires employers to pay workers the difference between the minimum wage and cash-plus-tips when the minimum wage is higher.
For more information about wage calculations, consult with an experienced Florida unfair pay claims lawyer.