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Common Employee Violations Seen in Restaurants

restaurant worker

Restaurants have a multitude of legal regulations to follow, including employment laws. Failing to follow state and federal employment laws can result in litigation that can severely impact the business. If you are a restaurant owner in Seattle, there are employment violations you should be aware of to avoid finding yourself in an employment lawsuit.

Illegal Tip Pooling

A common employment violation seen in restaurants is illegal tip pooling. Tip pooling occurs when employees combine a certain percentage of waiter’s tips with that of their coworkers, and all the tips are “pooled” and later distributed among employees who interact with customers. In many cases, employees try to distribute tips to supervisors, cooks, dishwashers, and other kitchen staff. However, it is unlawful to do so. Tips should only go to workers who directly interface with customers.

Failing to Pay Out Tips in Full Amounts

Another common violation restaurants deal with is failing to pay out tips in full amount. Employers are not allowed to skim tips from the servers. The tips servers and waiters earned should only go to them.

Making Waiters & Servers Cover Cash Shortages

Restaurant owners cannot make their workers cover cash shortages if a customer fails to pay for an item. Doing so could be considered tip theft and may result in lawsuits.

Making Employees Paying for Uniforms

It is unlawful for employers to make workers pay for their uniforms. Restaurant owners who want a mandatory uniform policy must pay for the uniforms themselves.

Charging Full Price for Meals

According to federal laws, employers must only charge employees the actual price for lunch meals if an employee wishes to eat at the establishment. Restaurant owners cannot charge workers for full-priced meals during lunch breaks.

If your restaurant is facing employment litigation or you want to find ways to protect your business from legal issues, contact us today at (206) 565-0090 to schedule a consultation!


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