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New York City has a massive restaurant and hospitality industry. Unfortunately, payment disputes in the restaurant industry are far too common. Disputes over wages, tips, rest breaks, and overtime pay frequently arise. New York labor laws require employers to allow their service workers to keep their tips when they’re given directly from customers. They need to abide by strict overtime and minimum wage loss. 

Discuss Your Payment Disputes in the Restaurant Industry Case With an Attorney in NYC

At Lipsky Lowe LLP, our employment attorneys stand up for the rights of restaurant workers. You have legal rights if you suspect or know that your employer has not been paying you the compensation you deserve.  You do not have to work overtime without being paid or giving up your tips to your employer. Your player must give you the rest breaks you’re entitled to under New York City law. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about holding your employer accountable for your mistreatment.

Restaurant Tip Violation Payment Disputes in the Restaurant Industry

A New York City full-service restaurant employs back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house staff. In the front of the house, servers, hosts, and hostesses work to seat customers and take their orders. Bussers, shops, and cooks also work to keep the restaurant going. Under New York law, restaurant owners and managers who’re not service workers cannot keep the tips that their service workers collect from customers. 

Tips must go to the front-of-the-house restaurant service workers when they earn them. In some cases, a manager or restaurant owner will take a portion of the customers’ tips to pay non-service staff, such as the cooks. Doing so is unlawful in New York City. If you know or suspect that your manager is withholding the tips customers have given you, it’s worth taking the time to discuss your case with an attorney. At Lipsky Lowe LLP, we will carefully investigate your case and help you obtain the tips and wages you’ve earned.

Overtime Pay Disputes

Restaurant owners must pay their employees overtime. If you’ve worked any hours over 40 hours in one week, your employer cannot simply pay you the shift pay or your weekly salary. They must pay you additional overtime wages. In the restaurant industry, it’s common for employers to threaten servers and bussers with losing their job if they don’t work overtime. However, employers cannot require you to work overtime without pay to keep your job.

Minimum Wage Violations

In New York City, the minimum wage is now $15 per hour. Service employees who work in restaurants or hotels receive tips at or above the tip threshold rate. As of January 1st, 2021, the minimum cash wage for service employees is $12.50. The minimum tip credit is $2.50, and the minimum tip threshold is $3.25. In the restaurant industry, when an employee’s tips and wages combined fall below the minimum wage, his or her employer is legally required to pay the difference. 

When an employer does take the tip credit, the tip credit cannot apply to unrelated, non-tipped work. The employer needs to give the employer a notice that he or she is taking the tip credit. There are various ways restaurant employers try to get around these regulations, and working with an attorney will help you ensure you’re receiving all of the pay you deserve. 

Unlawful Pay Deduction

fIn the restaurant industry, it’s common for customers to complain. If their food is too cold, service takes too long, or they are unhappy with their meal, they may complain to the manager. Some restaurant employees will punish the server by deducting pay from their hourly earnings due to customer complaints or returns. In New York City, deducting fees because of customer complaints is illegal. The only type of wage deductions that employers can take part in include employee benefits, such as health insurance plans.

Class Action Lawsuits

When an employer is violating one employee’s right to compensation, there’s a good chance the employer is also acting unlawfully towards other employees. When several employees of the same restaurant face discrimination, unfair wage practices, or misclassification, they may benefit from joining together to file a class-action lawsuit against the restaurant. Instead of filing individual lawsuits, they can pool their resources and bring a class-action lawsuit for damages. Depending on the facts in your case, there could be millions of dollars in unpaid wages that employees are entitled to under New York law.

Remedies Available in a Payment Disputes Lawsuit in the Restaurant Industry

Successful plaintiffs in restaurant payment dispute lawsuits are entitled to monetary and non-monetary damages through a lawsuit. You can collect all the wages your employer should have been paying you over the years. When employers engage in wage and hour violations maliciously, you may be able to obtain additional liquidated damages. Should you continue to work with the employer, a court can require your employer to begin paying you all the wages you’re entitled to.

If you were unlawfully terminated because you complained about payment disputes, you can collect compensation for your lost income and lost employee benefits. At Lipsky Lowe LLP, we will pursue the maximum amount of benefits you can obtain under the law in your restaurant payment dispute claim.

Contact an NYC Employment Restaurant Industry Payment Disputes Attorney

In New York City, payment disputes in the restaurant and service industries are far too common. If you work in the restaurant industry and you believe you have a wage-and-hour claim against your employer, Lipsky Lowe LLP is here to help. Our New York City employment lawyers offer clients a free initial consultation. We will not collect any legal fees until we successfully obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.