Restaurant operators are one of the most commonly named offenders in wage theft lawsuits. From small family-owned diners to global chains and four-star establishments, wage theft is rampant among restaurant owners and managers. Not only do restaurant workers spend hours on their feet to provide valuable services to their customers, they also have to keep a close eye on their wages, meal breaks, rest breaks, overtime, and tips.
How do restaurants try and get away with not paying wages to California restaurant employees?
I've been representing restaurant employees for a long time. It sucks when you aren't paid all of the wage you're owed. Here are the more common ways that California restaurants take your hard earned wages.
2. Relinquishes control over you activities and
3. Permits you a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted 30-minute break, and
4. Your employer does not impede or discourage you from doing so.
Brinker vs. Superior Court (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1004, 1040.
Not being paid for all time worked
Not being paid the proper overtime rate (regular rate of pay)
California has very stringent paycheck stub laws. There is very good reason behind these laws. California’s pay stub laws are intended to help workers figure out whether you are being paid all the wages that you are owed.
Waiting time penalties
This webpage tells you what the law is when you're not paid your final wages in a timely manner, what your legal rights are and, most importantly, what you can do about it in order for you to get paid your wages.
Successful Unpaid Wage Lawsuits Against Restaurants in California
There are many ways an employer can steal wages from workers, including paying less than minimum wage, denying meal and rest breaks, and requiring employees to pay for things that should be provided by the employer. However, many employees do not know that they can band together and file a single claim against an employer for lost wages and penalties. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded more than $40 million in unpaid back wages to over 45,000 restaurant employees, making it likely that many violations go unreported.
Restaurant workers have recently gotten justice from several restaurant chains, including:
Brinker (Chili’s Restaurants)
In light of the remedial nature of the legislative enactments authorizing the regulation of wages, hours and working conditions for the protection and benefit of employees, the statutory provisions are to be liberally construed with an eye to promoting such protection.
Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1004, 1026-1027.
Dave and Buster’s
A class action suit filed by 2,350 Dave & Buster’s employees in California settled for $1.3 million, holding the chain accountable for failure to pay current and former employees the correct wages or provide required breaks under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Jack in the Box
Over 7,700 employees filed a putative class action against franchise managers of restaurants owned by MarLu Restaurant Group, including Jack in the Box. Defendants offered a settlement of $2.5 million for unpaid wages, failing to provide meal breaks, and violating payroll rules by failing to offer payment in the form of a check.
In 2016, McDonald’s settled a claim filed by workers in California, Michigan, and New York who alleged that managers illegally erased hours from their timecards and ordered them to work off the clock. The $3.75 million settlement also offered compensation for unpaid overtime and failure to reimburse employees for time spent cleaning their uniforms.
Two line cooks sued Tacolicious in 2015 for denial of meal and rest breaks, inaccurate wage statements, and illegal wage deductions. The restaurant chain settled for $900,000 in 2017.
Why is Bill Turley asked to testify concerning wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly?
A No B.S. straight-shooter lawyer
Believe it or not, Bill is known for being a no B.S. straight-up lawyer. Besides being known as one of the leading experts on this area of the law in California, one of the reasons why Bill is asked to testify at legislature hearings is because he is known for being straight-forward and blunt. He is known for being no B.S., with no lawyer-talk, no double-talk.
It's always great to when you get your unpaid wages check!!
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Please understand these discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement, photos and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.
Just because we have gotten great results in so many other unpaid class action cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in in other case. Every case is different. In other words, your mileage may vary.