Waiter and Waitress Overtime Pay Wage & Hour Laws
Waiter or Waitress Overtime Lawsuits: Wage & Hour Laws

Waiter or Waitress Overtime Lawsuits: Wage & Hour Laws

Commonly asked overtime pay law questions about waiters and waitresses:

Do Waiters and Waitresses Get Paid Overtime?

Restaurant servers work long and tiring shifts and often extend beyond the end of their shift time.

Many servers, including waiters and waitresses, must arrive early to work to dress in their uniform and learn the day’s menu so that they can discuss the specials with customers. After their shift, many servers must stay later to change clothes before going home.  Overtime pay is required for many of these work requirements, but is often not paid.

Under the FLSA, restaurant servers can be entitled to earn compensation for every hour worked.  The FLSA requires that waiters and waitresses are paid at-least $7.25 per hour.  This can be straight pay or a combination of a lower wage and tips.  Deductions made from wages for items such as cash shortages, required uniforms, or customer service walk-outs are illegal if the deduction reduces the employee’s wages below the minimum wage or cuts into overtime pay.

What is the Salary Range for a Waiter or Waitress?

Depending on the work setting and state where waiters and waitresses are employed, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that in 2016, servers made between $17,090 to $38,460 annually, with the average annual salary being approximately $24,410. The average hourly salary for 2016 was $11.73.

How Many Waiters and Waitresses Are Nationally Employed?

According to the United States Department of Labor, employment estimate and mean wage estimates for this occupation is as follows:

Employment Employment RSE* Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage Wage RSE
2,564,610 0.5% $11.73 $24,410 0.4%

*RSE: The relative standard error (RSE) is a measure of the reliability of a survey statistic. The smaller the relative standard error, the more precise the estimate.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the percentile wage estimates for a waiter or waitress is as follows:

Percentile 10% 25% 50% (Median) 75% 90%
Hourly Wage $8.22 $8.83 $9.61 $12.78 $18.49

Where Are Most Waiters and Waitresses Employed?

According to the United States Department of Labor, states with the highest employment level in this occupation are as follows:

State Employment Employment Per Thousand Jobs Location Quotient Hourly Mean Wage Annual Mean Wage
California 280,100 17.54 0.96 $14.88 $30,940
Texas 219,680 18.70 1.02 $11.18 $23,250
Florida 217,790 26.49 1.45 $12.91 $26,860
New York 155,540 17.10 0.94 $14.41 $29,980
Pennsylvania 98,780 17.19 0.94 $10.62 $22,090

Waiter and Waitress Overtime Pay Lawsuit News

Related Waiter and Waitress Overtime Pay Lawsuit News

Nebraska Restaurant Agrees to Settle Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit

OMAHA — A Nebraska restaurant recently agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor to resolve claims that the company violated several provisions of federal labor and wage laws, including failure to pay overtime wages to several of its workers. As part of the settlement, Auburn-based El Portal Mexican Restaurant will pay back […]


Oklahoma city restaurant overtime lawsuitOklahoma Restaurant Agrees to Settle Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit

OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma restaurant recently agreed to a settlement with the U.S. Department of Labor to resolve claims that the company violated various provisions of federal labor and wage laws, including failure to pay overtime wages to dozens of workers. As part of the agreement, Oklahoma City-based Meers Store & Restaurant Inc. and […]


Server Sues Delaware Beach Restaurant Over Wage Theft Allegations

FENWICK ISLAND, DE — A server for a Delaware beach restaurant recently filed a wage theft lawsuit against the company, claiming managers engaged in rampant and systematic wage theft against wait staff to enrich ownership and management, as well as pay the wages for hourly, non-tip earning workers.


South Carolina Restaurant Workers Sue Company Over Wage Theft

MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Three former servers for a Myrtle Beach, South Carolina restaurant recently filed a collective action unpaid overtime lawsuit against the company claiming that the defendant violated federal wage and labor laws by requiring servers to split their tip earnings with the house.


Chili's Overtime Pay LawsChili’s Grill & Bar Settles Wage Theft Lawsuit With Servers

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The parent company of an Indiana Chili’s Grill & Bar recently agreed to a $250,000 settlement to resolve claims that the restaurant engaged in systematic wage theft against servers, a violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).


Read All Waiter and Waitress News on Overtime Pay Cases and Settlements

What are the Laws for Waiter and Waitress Overtime Pay?

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the overtime laws for waiters and waitresses is that employers must pay them overtime.  The FLSA requires that waiters and waitresses are paid at-least $7.25 per hour.  This can be straight pay or a combination of a lower wage and tips.  Deductions made from wages for items such as cash shortages, required uniforms, or customer service walk-outs are illegal if the deduction reduces the employee’s wages below the minimum wage or cuts into overtime pay.

Under certain circumstances, some servers may be exempt from the FLSA requirements.  Additionally, some states may have their own overtime pay laws that may be slightly different from the FLSA with respect to overtime pay for waiters and waitresses.  An experienced overtime pay attorney can determine whether you are entitled to overtime wages based upon your job description, job duties, rate of pay, and number of hours worked.

Is a Waiter or Waitress Entitled to Overtime Pay?

You may be entitled to overtime pay as a restaurant wait staff member if you worked more than 40 hours in a single work week.

It is important to determine if you meet the requirements in regards to job description, duties, pay rate, and hours worked to qualify for overtime pay. If you believe you have been denied wage benefits, it is important to consult an experienced unpaid overtime lawsuit attorney about your possible case.

Does a Restaurant Have to Pay Overtime Wages to a Waiter or Waitress?

In many cases, a restaurant is required to pay overtime to waiters and waitresses. If a server is paid less than $7.25 per hour, including tips, he/she may be entitled to compensation. Additionally, if a server works more than 40 hours a week, the restaurant may be required to pay overtime wages.

Server duties such as showing up early to change into a uniform, spending time before or after shifts learning new menus and specials, and staying late after shifts to change out of a uniform are all require wages to be paid for that time spent.

If you believe you have been denied proper overtime pay, it is important to consult a lawyer and determine if you meet the conditions of your state laws and the FLSA.

Can a Waiter or Waitress File a Class Action Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit?

Yes, a waiter or waitress can file a class action unpaid overtime lawsuit. This is when a large number of individualized claims are represented in one case.  Filing this type of lawsuit may be beneficial in some scenarios because often times due to the large number of claims, the efficiency of the legal process can increase, as well as costs of litigation could become lower.

There have been numerous FLSA class action lawsuits filed to insure waiters or waitresses are paid what they are owed.

What are Examples of Overtime Pay Lawsuits Filed by Waiters and Waitresses?

  • In New York, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, named The Best Restaurant in America by Eater.com, settled an unpaid overtime lawsuit with about 250 current and former employees, including many waiters and waitresses. The settlement amounted to $2 million.
  • Sushi Samba, a restaurant chain that operates in several states, settled an overtime pay lawsuit for $2.7 million. The lawsuit argued that servers and other employees were not paid for all hours worked.
  • TGI Friday’s settled a lawsuit for $225,000. The lawsuit argued that the company did not follow the tipped worker/minimum wage laws properly, as some workers were paid below minimum wage while doing work for which they were not tipped.

To determine whether you are eligible for filing a wage claim, contact our experienced Waiter and Waitress Overtime Pay Lawyers at (855) 754-2795 for a Free Consultation to discuss your case or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review Form on this page.  We will discuss your situation and determine if you have a claim. If you are owed unpaid wages, we will represent you under our No Fee Promise, which means there are never any legal fees or costs unless you receive a settlement.

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