Restaurant Overtime Pay Wage & Hour Laws
Restaurant Overtime Lawsuits: Wage & Hour Laws

Restaurant Overtime Lawsuits: Wage & Hour Laws

Commonly asked overtime pay law questions about restaurants:

What Workers are Employed by Restaurants?

The largest groups employed by restaurants include chefs, cooks, restaurant managers, food preparation workers, bartenders, waiters and waitresses, hosts and hostesses, and dishwashers.

What is the Salary Range for Restaurant Employees?

According to the United States Department of Labor, salary estimates for occupations commonly found in restaurants are as follows:

Occupation Median Hourly Wage Mean Hourly Wage Median Annual Wage Mean Annual Wage
Chefs and Head Cooks $20.76 $22.79 $43,180 $47,390
Cooks $15.13 $16.68 $31,480 $34,700
Managers $21.64 $21.03 $45,000 $43,750
Food preparation workers $10.31 $11.02 $21,440 $22,920
Watiers/waitresses $9.61 $11.73 $19,990 $24,410
Hosts/hostesses $9.60 $10.29 $19,980 $21,410
Bartenders $10.00 $12.30 $20,800 $25,580
Dishwashers $10.00 $10.22 $20,800 $21,260

How Many People Are Employed Nationally by Restaurants?

According to the United States Department of Labor, employment estimate and mean wage estimates for some common restaurant occupations are as follows:

Occupation Employment
Chefs and Head Cooks 134,190
Cooks 1,217,370
Managers 908,550
Food preparation workers 850,670
Watiers/waitresses 2,564,610
Hosts/hostesses 404,360
Bartenders 603,320
Dishwashers 506,450
Total employment 117,038,000

Where Are Most Restaurant Workers Employed?

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

Restaurant Overtime Pay Lawsuit News

Server Sues Charleston, South Carolina Restaurant Over Unpaid Overtime and Illegal Tip Pools

A server at one of the finest restaurants in Charleston, South Carolina recently filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit against the company over claims that he did not receive all his wages and his employer set up an illegal tip pool to compensate ineligible workers.

California Restaurant Settles Unpaid Overtime Claim

Three Santa Rosa, California area restaurants recently agreed to a settlement with the Labor Department to resolve claims that the companies failed to properly compensate several workers for all their hours spent on the job.

Former Cook Files Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit Against Arizona Bistro

A former cook and bouncer for a Flagstaff, Arizona sushi bistro recently filed an unpaid overtime lawsuit against the company over allegations that the restaurant’s owners failed to properly pay him for all his hours spent on the job.

New York City Sushi Restaurant Hit with Class Action Overtime Pay Lawsuit

Workers for an upscale New York City sushi restaurant recently hit the company with a class action unpaid overtime lawsuit over allegations that the business and its management engaged in wage theft against servers by setting up illegal tip pools.

Chicago Restaurant Settles Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit

A Chicago restaurant recently agreed to settle an unpaid overtime lawsuit with the Department of Labor to resolve claims that the company systematically underpaid dozens of current and former workers at its South Loop location.

Read All Restaurant News on Overtime Pay Cases and Settlements

What are the Major Restaurants?

There are a number of major restaurants in the United States, which are some of the largest employers in the food industry. Some restaurants that have been involved in overtime pay lawsuits include:

  • Chipotle
  • McDonald’s
  • Denny’s
  • Wolfgang Puck’s
  • TGI Friday’s
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Texas Roadhouse

What are the Laws for Restaurant Employee Overtime Pay?

Under the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), most restaurant employees are non-exempt and therefore entitled to overtime pay.

If an employee is non-exempt under the FLSA, the law requires that they are paid overtime wages of one and one-half times their regular rate of pay for every hour past 40 in one week.

Non-exempt restaurant employees generally includes assistant managers, cooks, chefs, waiters, waitresses, cashiers, bus boys, hosts and hostesses, among others.

If a restaurant worker receives tips, they must be informed in advance if the employer elects to use a tip credit as part of the minimum wage calculation, and they must be able to show that the employees receive at least the minimum wage.  Additionally, paying for uniforms or walk-outs may be a violation of the FLSA.

Is a Restaurant Employee Entitled to Overtime Pay?

Restaurant employees are often required to work double shifts and work additional time before and after their scheduled shift. As a result, many restaurant employees end up working more than 40 hours per week, and are therefore entitled to overtime pay.

Most restaurant workers are considered non-exempt under the FLSA. Exemption is determined by job description, job duties, rate of pay, and number of hours worked.

Employers often deny or unlawfully refuse to pay overtime by misclassifying the positions of the workers, claiming that they are exempt when, in reality, they are not. Restaurants may also require their employees to report to work early but not “punch the clock” until later or strike hours off of time cards, or they may refuse to pay employees for work done before the shift starts and after they punch out for the day. These are violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and can give rise to an overtime pay lawsuit.

An experienced overtime pay attorney will be able to analyze your case in the context of the FLSA and your state’s laws to determine if you are entitled to overtime wages and can file an overtime pay lawsuit.

Does a Restaurant Have to Pay Overtime Wages to its Employees?

Yes, in most cases a restaurant is required to pay overtime wages to employees that work more than 40 hours in one week.

A restaurant must provide overtime pay to all non-exempt employees, including assistant managers, cooks, chefs, waiters, waitresses, cashiers, bus boys, hosts and hostesses.

If you believe the restaurant you work for owes you overtime pay, it is best to consult an attorney who has experience with the FLSA and state overtime wage laws.

To determine whether you are eligible for filing a wage claim, contact our experienced Restaurant 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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