Common FLSA Violations in Restaurants

Common FLSA violations in restaurants include:  (1) paying straight time instead of overtime, (2) failure to pay for pre- and post-shift work, (3) pay deductions for cash shortages and mistakes, (4) not combining time worked at multiple stores, and (5) child labor violations.

I. Five Subway Franchise Stores.

Five Subway fast food franchise locations in North Carolina – owned and operated by Mahmoud Alkurdasi and Hala M. Saleh – have paid $13,970 in back wages to 150 employees for violating the minimum wage, overtime, and record keeping requirements of the FLSA.

1.  Failure to Pay for Pre-and Post-Shift Work.

The employer failed to pay for time spent working before and after  scheduled shifts on tasks such as counting the cash in the register and other opening or closing procedures. Instead, the employer paid only for scheduled hours. When all of the time worked was compared with the total amount of pay, this practice of failing to pay workers for all of their work time brought their pay below minimum wage.

Employers must pay employees for all work time, whether or not that time is on the official schedule. The employer bears the responsibility to record all of the time that employees actually work.

2.  Pay Deductions Violated Minimum Wage.

The stores also took pay deductions to cover register shortages and shortages created when workers remade sandwiches or salads for customers. These deductions from hourly pay also brought the average hourly pay for those workers below the minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

3.   Work at Multiple Stores Not Combined for Overtime. 

Some employees worked at multiple stores in the same week. Their total number of hours exceeded 40 in a week. These employees should have been paid overtime at a rate of 1 ½ their hourly rate.

Instead, the restaurant failed to combine hours from multiple stores during the same workweek. This practice resulted in overtime violations when the employees’ total hours between the restaurants totaled more than 40. The employer paid the workers with separate checks from each of its locations, at straight time.

II.  Two Vermont Restaurants.

The Spot LLC – owner of two Burlington, Vermont, restaurants – has paid $55,546 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 91 current and former employees to resolve overtime violations of the FLSA. The employer also paid $2,360 in penalties for child labor violations.

1. Straight Time for Overtime.

Both Vermont restaurants paid employees straight-time rates when they worked more than 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA requires the employer to pay 1 1/2 times their regular rates of pay for any hours over 40 in a workweek.

2.  Child Labor Violations. 

The restaurants also employed three 15-year-old workers outside of the hours allowed for that age group by the FLSA. Some young employees worked past 11:00 p.m., later than the 9:00 p.m. limit in effect from June 1 through Labor Day, and far beyond the 7:00 p.m. limit in effect from the day after Labor Day through May 31. Minors also worked more than 3 hours on school days, more than 8 hours on non-school days, and more than 18 hours during school weeks; all in excess of what the law allows.  The detailed regulations of child labor in restaurants under the FLSA can be found here.

There are detailed regulations for when hours can be worked, total numbers of hours worked,  and limits on tasks and machinery that can be performed by child labor.

III.  Protect Your Rights and Younger Workers.

If you or a family member work in a restaurant, beware of these common violations of the FLSA, especially the child labor restrictions on restaurants. The Ken S. Nugent, P.C. Overtime Team of attorneys can help you collect (1) back wages, plus (2) liquidated damages in an additional amount of the same back wages and overtime, and (3) attorney’s fees and costs. For a free evaluation of your work situation, contact us here.

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