Greetings again American Workers-
A story with a purpose-
I was eating at a national chain restaurant this past weekend with my lovely wife and struck up a conversation with our server. She was complaining that this was her third job in the last year at a restaurant where they charged her for patrons who walked out on a tab without paying. She also told me that she was often required to come to work prior to her shift to prepare for the day and assist in the kitchen but was not being paid for that time. This is the common/classic example of "off the clock work." Two things to consider- (1) we do not believe that is an appropriate and/or legal process for servers to be charged for customers running out without paying the bill. Obviously, this type of deduction implicates and affects the minimum wage and overtime requires under both state and federal law in many circumstances; and (2) "off the clock work" is illegal and a violation of the wage laws. The law requires that an employee be paid for all hours worked. This type of "off the clock" work is common in the food service, health, construction, and other related industries. If you are required to appear for work before your shift to load a truck, review work orders, set tables, review patient charts, prepare for the day, meet with management, etc. This is time for which you must be paid. Similarly, if you are required to clean up at the end of your shift, have post shift meetings, submit or prepare post shift paperwork, or return to the office to drop off a work truck or clean your supplies, this too must be paid. You have rights. Protect them, because if you don't, employers will continue to engage in these illegal pay practices.
On an unrelated note, we recently secured a fantastic decision from the court on one of our large collective/class action lawsuits pending in New Jersey, finding that the employer's pay practices were illegal. We are in the process of calculating damages now for the class. Take a look at the Intertek Caleb Brett link on our site for more information on this case. We have similar cases pending against other companies in the inspection industry that we anticipate will proceed in the same manner based upon this decision.
Stay informed my friends and I will chat with you soon. As always, feel free to email us with any questions at any time of the day as our labor investigators are available 24/7.