California Restaurant Workers Rights and Labor Laws Attorney
Restaurant jobs are grueling. While many people think of restaurants as places to unwind and enjoy a meal, the employees who work there put in a lot of time and effort to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Most workers are on their feet, running back and forth for the entirety of their shifts. This makes restaurant jobs incredibly physically demanding as well as mentally straining. Despite the significant effort, many restaurant workers do not get paid as they should.
California restaurant employees have rights protected by state laws. Unfortunately, many restaurant employers do not follow these laws, believing that their employees will not notice or take action. This means lost wages, incorrect paychecks, and stolen labor.
If you have a concern about your employee rights as a restaurant worker, or believe that your employer is violating California labor laws, you have the right to take action. Protecting employees is our top priority at Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers.
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Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers: Protecting Employees in California
For many years, our team has been representing employees in California who have been taken advantage of by their employers. With experience in a variety of cases, such as wage and hour disputes, overtime law, sexual harassment, workplace discrimination, and more, we offer the best California labor law legal support. No other area firm has the passion and experience that we have, making us your top option for your California labor law disputes.
We understand how important correct wages and payments are. No matter how much you love your job, its ultimate purpose is to provide financial support for your family and your lifestyle. When an employer fails to pay their employees correctly, they are stealing the employees’ labor and time, which is reprehensible. We are here to hold these employers accountable and ensure that employees understand and exert their rights.
Our expertise in this area gives you an advantage in the courtroom and the best chance of winning your claim. We are your premier legal support option for California labor law violations.
Restaurant Worker Wage Laws
Many people believe that paying restaurant workers is a complicated process. In reality, it only requires a basic understanding of the laws and the industry in California.
Unlike in some states, there is no separate minimum wage for restaurant workers or tipped workers in California. This means that the restaurant or employer must pay their employees a minimum of $15.50 per hour, regardless of whether or not they earn tips on top of that wage.
Overtime payments need to be given to any employee who works more than 40 hours in a week at a rate of 1.5 times their normal wage. For example, if an employee makes $20 per hour, they must make $30 per hour for any hours that they work over 40 in a week.
Although restaurants are often busy and require a lot of attention from employees, they are still entitled to regular breaks and meal times. For every four hours of work, an employee must receive a ten-minute paid break. If an employee works over five hours, they are entitled to a 30-minute unpaid lunch break. However, if their shift is six hours or less in total, the employee may forgo a lunch break if they wish to do so. However, this must be their choice. The employer cannot force it.
Health and Safety
Restaurant owners and employers are also responsible for meeting certain health and safety standards to protect their workers. Violating these standards makes them liable for damages if there is an accident or injury.
As with any industry, restaurant employers are required to provide necessary safety equipment to their employees. The specific equipment needed will depend on the employee role and the restaurant. Regardless, a first aid kit should be readily available and fully stocked.
All walkways need to be kept free of obstacles and tripping hazards. They should also be clean and dry. If an area is messy or there is a spill, proper warnings need to be posted for employee safety.
Why Do I Need a Restaurant Employment Attorney?
Unfortunately, restaurant owners and managers regularly abuse their employees. Because many restaurants and bars create a sense of community for their employees, employers feel that they can take advantage of their employees’ position. This results in falling standards, unsafe working environments, and wage violations.
Fighting your own case is difficult, especially when employment law is involved. This area of the legal system is very specific, and there are lots of details that are easy to confuse. Many attorneys cannot fight these cases, even if they are fully trained. Employment law requires an attorney who is specifically trained in this area and who understands the local, state, and federal laws surrounding employment. Trying to fight these cases by yourself often ends in frustration, lost money, and lost cases.
With the help of an attorney, you can regain control over your situation and get the support that you deserve. Employees in every industry deserve proper wages, fair breaks, and a safe and healthy workplace environment. If you win your case, you can enact change for others in your workplace and industry. Do not jeopardize this kind of impact by not hiring an attorney to help you.
One of the biggest areas of employment law violations in the service industry is in the area of tipping. Tips are considered separate from your regular base pay, and your employer cannot use this money to pay you your hourly wage. For example, your manager cannot pay you $5 per hour and allow tips to make up the remaining $10.50. Tips need to be separate, and your employer must pay you at least the minimum wage.
Tip pooling is legal, but it is important that the manager not be involved in the process. The employees should decide together to form a tip pool, and then create a stringent system for how tips should be allocated. For example, you may decide that 75% goes to servers, 10% to bussers, 10% to kitchen staff, and 5% to hosts. Whatever you decide, be specific and clear about the expectations. If your employer pressures or forces you to tip pool against your will, you should contact an attorney immediately.
Credit card surcharges cannot come out of your tip amounts. Employers are obligated to pay any credit card fees themselves, and this money cannot come from the tips that you earn. Be watchful to make sure they are not skimming money from your tips to pay for their credit card fees.
California Labor Laws FAQs
Q: What Are My Rights as a Restaurant Employee in California?
A: As a restaurant employee, you have the same rights as most other industries. In California, there is no reduced minimum wage for tipped workers, so you must be given at least $15.50 per hour as a base salary. You must receive a 10-minute break for every 4 hours that you work and are entitled to a 30-minute lunch break for every 5-hour shift. Your employer must ensure that your workspace is safe.
Q: Can You Be Fired for Any Reason in California?
A: In California, an employer does not need a reason to fire an employee. However, they cannot fire an employee for a protected reason or protected classification. Examples include race, gender, sexuality, reporting harassment, whistleblowing, and more. If you were fired without cause but believe that there was an alternative reason that you were fired, you can file a legal claim.
Q: Can My Employer Take Part of My Tips?
A: No. It is illegal for an employer to take portions of their employees’ tips. If you suspect that your employer has been hiding or keeping tips, you need to take legal action immediately. This is direct theft, and your employer needs to be held accountable for their actions. Plus, you are losing money if your employer is keeping even a small portion of your tips. They cannot use your tips to make up your base pay.
Q: Am I Guaranteed a Break If I Work in a Restaurant?
A: Yes. Just as with any other industry, you are entitled to a break for every four hours that you work in the restaurant industry. You are also entitled to a meal break for every five hours that you work. However, if you work more than five hours but less than six, you can waive your lunch or meal break. This is voluntary, and your employer cannot force you.
Trust Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers
For many years, our team has been advocating for employees in California. We understand how important wages are, and you deserve to be properly compensated for your work. Do not let your employer take advantage of you, steal your money, or abuse your time. Restaurant workers have just as many rights as employees in any other industry. Our team is here to ensure that your rights are protected and that you get what you deserve from your employer.
For legal help with your employment case, contact Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers online.