What are the Rights of Restaurant Workers?

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What are the Rights of Restaurant Workers?

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Posted By DAM Firm | June 15 2020 | Workers' Comp

Restaurant workers are an incredibly important part of our society. Those who work in restaurants come from all walks of life, and they work in an often stressful and demanding environment. However, restaurant workers should never be subjected to inhumane conditions. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to mistreat and take advantage of their employees. The state of California protects the rights of restaurant workers.

Restaurant Worker Rights

Every worker in California has rights that are protected and enforced by the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE). This agency is tasked with investigating and resolving any Labor Code violations. This can include issues arising pertaining to:

  • Wage discrepancies
  • Hourly wage issues
  • Working conditions
  • Discrimination in the workplace
  • And more

It is important to point out that California protects the rights of all workers, whether they are U.S. citizens, documented foreign workers, or undocumented workers. Some of the most important rights that the DLSE ensures include:

  • Minimum wage. Restaurant workers must be paid no less than the legal minimum wage in their jurisdiction. Minimum wage will be measured by time, commission, piece rate, or other calculation method. In most circumstances, wages must be paid at least twice a month.
  • Rest period. Every restaurant worker is afforded a net-10 minute rest break for every four hours they work. If a worker does not receive their rest period, then the employer is required to give them an additional hour of pay at their regular rate.
  • Meal period. Restaurant employees who work more than five hours are entitled to a 30-minute meal break in which they will be relieved of all work duties. If an employee does not receive their meal break, then the employer is required to give them an additional hour of pay at their regular rate.
  • Proper equipment for the job. Every restaurant employee should be provided with appropriate uniforms, tools, and supplies necessary to complete their job duties. For workers required to use their own vehicle for work-related duties, employers are required to reimburse all related expenses.
  • Workers’ compensation. Employers In California must provide restaurant employees with workers’ compensation coverage in the event they sustain an injury on the job. This coverage shall provide compensation for an injured employee’s medical bills and lost wages if they are unable to work.
  • Retaliation. The DLSE investigates instances of retaliation against restaurant employees who make complaints about poor workplace conditions or other illegal activity on the part of their employer.

California Laws for Tipped Employees

Many restaurant employees rely on tips. As a bartender, server, or any other tipped employee, tips may end up providing the employee with more than their actual hourly wages paid by employers. In the state of California, employers are not allowed to claim tips that are left for their restaurant workers. Employers are not allowed to count tips as part of their minimum wage requirements.

Tip pooling is allowed in the state of California, and this happens when an employer requires restaurant workers to combine all of their tips to then be distributed amongst everybody in the pool. However, employers who require tip pooling must follow certain guidelines established by law.

If you have any questions related to the rights of restaurant workers in California, contact the Orange County workers’ comp lawyers at DiMarco | Araujo | Montevideo. You can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or by calling (714) 783-2205.

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