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  1. #1

    Laws in Alabama on waitress responsibilities

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? AL

    I am a waitress in Alabama. I get paid $2.50 an hour which is slightly over minium wage for a server. My question is this, while getting paid $2.50 an hour, what duties would be considered illegal at this wage. My employer has us come to work and start the day with prep work and a list of chores that include clean up in the kitchen and stock rooms. We stock the coolers every morning which includes going into the basement and bringing up cases of beer and sodas with hand trucks. We also do all the dishes. They require us to do odd jobs sometimes like decorating, assembling things and monthly deep cleanings. Just recently they started a thursday night wing night. They have the cook make the sauces and lay out the chicken and send him home. They require that we serve and cook the wings and do all the clean up. We do all this and more making only $2.50 an hour, is this legal? We do not make alot of money at this establishment that would really make up for all of our extra responsibilities.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    small town, PA
    See "Dual Jobs" here:

    Only duties "incidental" to your job as a server can be paid at the sub-minimum wage for tipped employees. That would mean, for example, mopping up spilled water, rolling silverware, things like that; in addition, such incidental duties cannot exceed 20% of your weekly hours and still be paid at the lower cash wage. And of course, your tips for the week would have to cover the difference for those hours only or the employer must make up the shortfall.

    For any server-type duties over 20% of your weekly hours or any not directly related to your job as a server, you must be paid the full minimum wage. That would include cooking, deep cleaning, dishwashing, most stocking, etc.

    Complicating matters, though, is the fact that, for all intents and purposes, Alabama does not have a functioning Dept. of Labor. You can file a claim with the federal Dept. of Labor for minimum wage violations. Do you have any estimate of how much time in the past you have spent on these nonincidental duties? How long has this been going on?

    Alternatively, if you think the employer would accept the implied criticism (which you would do nicely, of course ), you could show him the fact sheet I referenced above.

    You have not won the law suit lottery; in fact, you haven't even won the law suit scratch-off.
  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Many times in states where there are no functioning "wage and hour" aspect of the state system, the Federal wage and hour people are heroic in their efforts on behalf of employees. So by all means, file a report with them about what is going on. They can investigate without revealing who filed the complaint. Do not tell others in the restaurant you are going to do this or that you were the one who has done this.

    From my past experiences with employers in general, I wouldn't bet a nickel on your chances for continued employment after you helpfully showed your employer a fact sheet that showed he was underpaying you. Maybe it'd work, but I wouldn't count on it.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    I agree, do not tell anyone you are filing the request with the federal agency. Telling the employer the information will place him on notice and the employer will remember who it was that requested change of policy when questions are asked. Not sure if the community is small enough that strangers are noticed and their questions remembered long after they leave.

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