Tipped employees in the restaurant industry—including servers, bartenders, and carry-out staff—are among the most frequent victims of wage and hour violations in Ohio. From fast food to fine dining, employers at every level of the restaurant industry often take advantage of convoluted or complicated laws in order to avoid paying workers the wages they are owed.

However, restaurant workers do not have to tolerate being unfairly compensated for their work. If you believe you are a victim of restaurant wage violations in Cleveland, a dedicated wage and hour attorney could help you pursue the back wages you are owed as well as any other potential damages.

Failure to Provide Minimum Wage

Depending on the circumstances, restaurant workers in Cleveland might experience wage theft in a number of different ways. A local lawyer could help a person losing income in any of the following ways take appropriate action to recover their lost compensation.

One of the most common ways wage theft occurs in restaurants is when employers fail to pay employees the minimum hourly wage required by state and federal law. The hourly minimum wage for non-tipped employees in Ohio is either $8.70, if the employer in question makes more than $319,000 in gross revenue per year, or the federal minimum of $7.25, if the employer makes less than $319,000 in gross revenue per year.

The minimum hourly wage for tipped employees is $4.30, but if an employee earns less than the applicable minimum wage after factoring in tips, their employer is required to make up the difference. Accordingly, any failure by an employer to ensure hourly wages with tips may constitute wage theft.

Off-the-Clock Work and Unpaid Overtime

Like all hourly employees, restaurant workers have a legal right to be paid for all hours worked. However, many restaurants try to cut corners by having staff clock out and then perform “side work.”  Side work could include prepping and cleaning workspaces. Regardless of how long this work takes, restaurant employees are legally required to receive wages for their time worked, and it must comply with minimum wage laws.

Additionally, restaurant workers who put in more than forty hours a week are entitled to time-and-a-half pay for all overtime hours worked, as per Ohio Revised Code §4111.03. However, it is illegal for employers to calculate overtime pay using the tipped employee rate, which is much lower than the minimum wage.

Since this constitutes an illegal wage violation, any restaurant worker affected by it should speak with a knowledgeable legal professional about their options for remedying it.

Taking Action Against Cleveland Restaurant Wage Violations

Various labor laws at both the state and federal levels guarantee restaurant workers the right to a minimum wage, overtime pay, and various other protections from unfair treatment by employers with regard to compensation for hours worked. Unfortunately, employers in the restaurant industry take advantage of employees who are unaware of these rights and deny them the full earnings they have worked for.

You should not accept any form of wage violation from a restaurant employer in Cleveland, no matter your position. To learn how you could fight to recover back pay and potentially additional damages, contact a local lawyer today.

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