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Wage Violations in New York City Restaurants

New York restaurant industry has the highest hire rates, but work conditions are rife with many unfair practices. Employers encourage workers to do overtime, skip meals and rest breaks, and often don’t want to pay for it.

They may also indulge in violations related to wages, tip pooling and tip credits. Unfortunately, many restaurant workers or employees do not have the luxury to quit their jobs even after working in such unfair conditions.

If you are a victim of wage violations committed by New York City restaurant employers, then it is time to stand up for your rights. Hire experienced wage violations attorney Emre Polat in New York City.

Key Wage Violations in NYC Restaurant Industry

Here are some of the common pay violations which restaurant employers in New York City indulge in. Many employers and even workers do not pay any heed to these wage rules. However, as a worker it is your right to receive your full wages as per regulations, and pursue legal action when these regulations are violated.

  1. Tips taken away by management
    In some cases, the restaurant management or owner could unfairly take a share of the tip to pay off non-service staff and kitchen staff.
  2. Wages not in accordance with minimum wage rule
    The minimum wage rule in New York clearly prescribes the minimum wages per hour for the wait-staff. And in case there is a tip credit, then a tipped minimum wage per hour needs to be paid. Some restaurants ignore the minimum wage rule to exploit workers.
  3. Avoidance of pay for overtime
    Some New York restaurants avoid paying overtime wages for hours worked over 40 hours in a week. They simply pay the shift pay or weekly salary.
  4. Hourly wage non-payment
    Some restaurants indulge in the unfair practice of not paying any hourly wages to their wait-staff. They simply make them work for tips.
  5. Avoidance of pay for trainees
    In New York it is mandatory for a restaurant to pay at least the minimum wage while a waiter is on training period. If you are training without receiving any tips then you should be aware of the minimum wages per hour which you are entitled to receive. However, many restaurants do not pay anything to their trainee waiters while making the training period basically mandatory.
  6. Charging waiters for unpaid bills
    Sometimes the food bills of the customers who ‘dine and dash’ comes out of the tip money which servers earn.
  7. Charge for breakages
    It is unlawful to charge a server for any breakage or damage to glasses or plates by deducting the charge out of tips. Now if the waiter or waitress does this intentionally this is another topic.
  8. Not paying for maintenance of uniforms
    Many restaurants unlawfully expect wait-staff to purchase and launder their own uniforms without being reimbursed for the same. If your New York restaurant owner or management expects you to launder your own uniform then they must pay you a minimum of $11.20 per week if you work for more than 30 hours per week (effective from 12/15).
  9. ‘Service Charge’ being misappropriated
    New York’s Hospitality Wage Order is violated by some restaurants when they grossly misappropriate the service charge or fixed gratuity, which is charged to customers in the bill. The customers are incorrectly led to believe that the service charge will go to the wait-staff.
  10. Pay for spread-of-hours
    As per New York Labor Law all New York restaurants have to provide their workers with an extra hour of pay whenever their work day exceeds ten hours in total. This pay can range from $10.40 to $15.00 per hour within New York State.
  11. Meal breaks
    If you are expected to eat while you are working in a New York restaurant then you should be reimbursed for the same. Also, it is unlawful if the restaurant deducts meal charges from your wages (if that causes your hourly wage to fall below the minimum wage requirement.)
  12. Pay for a false call-in
    If a New York restaurant calls you in to work but then promptly sends you back when you arrive, then you are owed a minimum of three hours of minimum wages.
  13. Pay for unrelated work
    If you are a tipped employee but are made to work more than 20% of your time in a non-tipped role then the restaurant owes you full federal minimum wages per hour rather than the reduced wage which a tipped employee receives.
  14. Fees for credit cards
    Only the percentage charge determined by a credit card processor can be taken out of your tips towards credit card charges.

Enlist the Support of a New York City Attorney to Assert Your Wage and Hour Rights

If you believe that your restaurant employer is not paying your full legal wages, but you have been avoiding taking any action because you are afraid of retaliation, it is time for you to enlist legal support.

An experienced New York employment law attorney such Emre Polat can fight for you rights by way of:

  • Determining whether filing a claim is in your best interests
  • Advising you on the right legal course of action you should take
  • Hold your former or current restaurant employer accountable for wage violations

Call the Emre Polat Law Group on (212) 480-4500 or fill out this online form to book a consultation if you or your co-workers feel that your restaurant employment wage rights are being violated in New York City.

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