Restaurant Workers’ Rights Lawyer Newport Beach

Don’t Let Your Restaurant Take Advantage of You

nullRestaurants are a crucial part of most extroverts’ weekends, but many patrons do not realize the inner workings of a seemingly fun restaurant. On the surface, servers and bartenders are happy and light-hearted while talking to guests, but they typically face stressful and sometimes abusive work environments while the guests aren’t looking. 

Working in the fast-paced environment of a restaurant or bar can be lucrative on busy nights or when you have large tables. Workers with excellent people skills can make hundreds of dollars a night off tips, and if the patron tips in cash, they don’t usually have to pay tax. Many choose this job due to its flexible schedule and the tight-knit communities that often develop between staff. However, the casual work environment of restaurants also results in sexual misconduct and harassment, as well as verbal abuse and illegal wage practices. If you need a lawyer after experiencing harassment at a restaurant job Newport Beach, you may have a strong case.

Restaurant workers are often young and/or inexperienced, and restaurant owners and managers take advantage of their naivety. Servers, bartenders, hosts, and other customer-facing staff are referred to as front of house staff, and those who work in the kitchen are referred to as back of house staff. These employees are often unaware that they have a strong case for an employee rights attorney for restaurant workers.

Discrimination Claims

According to Harvard Business Review, more sexual harassment claims are filed in the restaurant industry each year than any other industry, and this can be attributed to the fact that front of house employees are often young women working for a male manager. While women dominate the restaurant industry, they are less likely to be promoted to management positions. They often face sexual comments disguised as compliments and sexist remarks.

Racial discrimination is also prevalent in the restaurant industry, especially in hiring practices. People of color are less likely to be hired into fine dining restaurants, and they’re also more likely to be given lower-paying positions like barbacks and runners. Those who may not speak English are given jobs in the kitchen, where they are often overworked and underpaid. Due to the language barrier, they often don’t know who to go to for help when they’re mistreated.

Anyone who experiences this kind of behavior should reach out to a lawyer for restaurant employee discrimination Newport Beach. Due to the nature of high turnover rates, almost all employees leave before filing a claim, but it’s possible to get compensation for the harassment you have faced. Your attorney will go over any statutes of limitations regarding your claims.

Illegal Wage Theft

Servers earn their wages from tips, and they are usually paid a subminimum wage of $2.13 an hour. This subminimum rate is only legal if it complies with the federal law known as the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and satisfies this federal law’s very specific requirements. 

It’s not unusual for restaurants to have a tip pool where servers and bartenders get a cut of the tips earned each week based off how many hours they worked, but since managers are the ones who distribute it, illegal wage theft can occur. Tips are for customer-facing employees, so owners, managers, supervisors, cooks, and dishwashers should not be getting a cut.

Restaurants are also not allowed to charge employees for any dishware they may break throughout the workday, as well as the uniforms they are required to own. They also cannot charge employees for cash shortages that may be realized at the end of the night.

Safety Concerns

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is based around ensuring safe conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, and education. OSHA requires that a first aid kit be on the premises to treat any cuts or burns sustained while handling food or cooking equipment. Under these laws, restaurants must also label any hazardous materials.

As restaurants get busy, servers have to rush to and from the kitchen, which can result in slipping and falling. In the event that someone slips and falls due to a restaurant’s failure to keep floors clean, they can file a personal injury claim with an attorney.

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, OSHA has released new regulations surrounding work environments. To keep employees safe and socially distanced, OSHA tells restaurants to encourage best practices like frequent handwashing or sanitizing with at least 60% alcohol hand sanitizer, mask-wearing, and covering one’s cough. If you are feeling sick, your employer should  encourage you to stay home to speed up your recovery and prevent the spread. 

As the demographic of restaurant workers is often younger and less-educated, owners and managers may feel as though they can mistreat their employees and get away with it. Since 90% of restaurant harassment claims go unfiled, they have the confidence that they can act out of line. However, by reaching out to an employee rights attorney for restaurant workers, you can win financial compensation for the way you were treated and help ensure that it won’t happen to others. If you feel your workplace is taking advantage of front of house or back of house employees, don’t hesitate to contact a Newport Beach restaurant worker rights lawyer like Accident Lawyers Firm.