Colorado restaurants ripe ground for wage and hour violations

Working in the food service industry can be a challenge. There are long hours, tough conditions and a fast-paced environment. For restaurant owners and managers, it can be difficult to meet the demands of running a successful business while simultaneously monitoring compliance with a complex web of employment law regulations. It can be equally difficult for restaurant workers themselves to know their rights and to stand up for themselves if their rights are being violated.

Restaurateurs more likely to face investigation than those in other industries

Restaurants with a sales volume in excess of $500,000 per year are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. The FLSA establishes a number of requirements in terms of required overtime pay, the number of hours employees may work and other workplace standards. In addition to the federal FLSA, Colorado has its own labor laws that protect workers.

Overtime is one of the most important compliance requirements. Employees must be paid an overtime premium for any hours worked in excess of 40 during a seven-day workweek; Colorado state law additionally requires employers to pay workers an overtime premium after 12 consecutive work hours.

In addition to overtime requirements, some of the most important labor requirements for restaurants under federal and Colorado law include:

• Tip pools cannot include management or kitchen employees

• Credit card processing fees may not be deducted from the pay of employees who receive tip credits

• Employers may not deduct the cost of uniforms from an employee's pay

• Employers paying servers $4.76 and then taking a $3.02 tip credit must notify these workers of certain tip information

The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Labor Department enforces the FLSA. The Wage and Hour Division considers restaurants to be at a very high risk of noncompliance with recordkeeping, overtime pay, minimum wage and child labor standards. In fact, the number one and number two categories of business most likely to be investigated by the Wage and Hour division are full-service restaurants and limited-service restaurants, respectively, according to the Data Enforcement website produced by the Labor Department.

Be proactive and get the help of a Colorado employment law attorney

Labor Department inspections are not the only way employment law violations can come to light. Employees whose rights are being violated can bring a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation.

For restaurant managers and owners, it is important to get their house in order and ensure compliance with all applicable labor regulations before a costly lawsuit or Labor Department penalty. For workers who believe their rights are being violated, taking legal action may be the only solution. If you need legal help concerning wage and hour standards in the restaurant industry, contact a Colorado employment law attorney today.