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Wage & Hour FAQ on Minimum Wage and Overtime Pay for Tipped Employees

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for above-the-bar-logo.jpgFAQ: I work as a waiter in a restaurant and am not even making minimum wage after I add up my wages and tips per hour. My employer also frequently asks me to work many extra hours without paying overtime. When I ask him about my overtime wages, he says I’m lucky to have a job. What can I do?

You are not alone in this battle to be paid your rightful wages. This is a nationwide problem affecting workers throughout the restaurant industry. Call our experienced Wage and Hour attorneys to help you recover your rightful wages and overtime pay. Our attorneys have also helped many employees fearful of losing their jobs or of retaliation.

The Fair Labor Standards Act clearly provides that employees receive at least the minimum wage and for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, receive at least one and one half times their regular rate of pay. The federal minimum wage for covered nonexempt employees is $7.25 per hour.

Tipped employees fall under an exception so that your employer may pay you not less than $2.13 an hour in direct wages as long as that amount plus the tips that you receive total at least the federal minimum wage, you retain all your tips and you customarily and regularly receive more than $30 a month in tips. If your tips combined with your employer’s direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour do not equal the federal minimum hourly wage, then your employer must make up the difference.

Many workers like you are not taking a back seat anymore, but are fighting for their rightful wages. Recently, two employees brought a lawsuit against Darden Restaurants, the company who owns Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, and The Capital Grill, alleging that were not paid overtime for hours worked in excess of 40 hours a week, and tipped employees were made to do work which reduced the amount of tips they could earn. The suit alleges that servers, who are often paid less than minimum wage because they get tips, were made to perform a lot of non-tipped work such as rolling napkins and vacuuming.

Darden Restaurants denies that it violated any wage and hour laws and claims that it did not hear of any complaints of alleged violations until the lawsuit was filed. The company claims it has an in-house complaint resolution system and that the employees did not use it. It is a shame that Darden, one of the nation’s largest restaurant operators that owns over 2,000 restaurants across the country, is allegedly violating the wage and hour laws by underpaying its employees.

Our attorneys have helped many workers in the restaurant industry recover their rightful wages, overtime pay as well as any benefits and compensation that was due to them. Call our Wage and Hour Attorneys at Villanueva & Sanchala at (800) 893-9645 to help you recover your hard earned wages that are owed to you.


Thank you for visiting our Blog. This blog provides general information and thoughts about various employment law issues primarily in the New York Tri-State area and occasionally in other areas. You are welcome to read the posts. However, do not construe any content on this blog as legal advice or the creation of an attorney-client relationship. Again, we provide the content only for informational purposes. You should not make decisions based information on our blog since the application of the law depends on the facts and each situation may be different. In addition, the law in most jurisdictions is different and changes constantly and we make no representations that any information on our blog has been updated. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from an experienced employment law attorney in your state or jurisdiction.

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