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Work Load > Pay Rate

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#1
I work in a small, locally owned restaurant in West Virginia. Servers are required to bus their tables and wash their dishes. ( It's not as bad as it may sound)
Recently, our dishwasher stopped working. Since then, we have been expected to HANDWASH all our dishes: plates, cups, silverware, even pots and pans from the kitchen. Sh*t happens, I get it.

It has now been one month. The owner, to my knowledge, has made NO attempt to repair the machine. Nor are we being compensated for the extra work and inconvenience. (I make $2.50/hr
+ tips, btw) I have kept my head down, my mouth shut and have tried my damnedest to wait it out, but enough IS enough. Thirty days is ample time to come up with a solution without pressure or interference from employees.

My husband has suggested an anonymous call to the local health dept and/or labor board. A co-worker has voted for a good old fashioned strike.
I would be content with 1 of 3 things:

1) just fix the dishwasher
(which the owner has no intention of doing)

2) adjust my pay rate to reflect the work performed (this free labor train is out of steam )

3) hire an actual dishwasher for our busier hours
(we've actually paid the kitchen prep guy out of our own pocket to help us when it's super busy)

My end goal is to demand results from the owner without threats or ultimatums (termination of employment, legal action, etc.) without ruining the employee/employer relationship.

Advice/Suggestions/Opinions PLEASE
 
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#2
You didn’t include your state but you are most likely required to be paid at least minimum wage while working the washing job.

Unless a dish washing machine is required by the health codes the health department isn’t going to do a thing.

The department of labor, on the other hand, would be interested in the pay issue. You can always try to make an anonymous complaint.
 

cbg

Scotch Egg
#3
Keeping in mind, of course, that under no law in any US state are you automatically entitled to a pay increase for additional duties.
 
#5
Keeping in mind, of course, that under no law in any US state are you automatically entitled to a pay increase for additional duties.
Actually in this sort of situation she would be. She is paid sub minimum wage for all duties. The employer would not be allowed to use a tip credit and pay a sub minimum wage for the time spend washing dishes.
 

cbg

Scotch Egg
#6
Depends on the state. In some states as long as her overall wage plus tips at the end of the week equals at least minimum wage for all hours worked, the law would be satisfied.
 

cbg

Scotch Egg
#9
WV IS one of the states in which the law only requires that the employee's wage plus tips equals the state minimum wage (which is higher than Federal) times hours worked.
 
#10
Keeping in mind, of course, that under no law in any US state are you automatically entitled to a pay increase for additional duties.

Wow...didn't realize that, but very good to know.

Since I do rely mainly on tips, hourly pay rates have become inconsequential. As far as dead end jobs go, serving has unlimited earming potential...as long as ya do it right.

From buffet style places to teppenyaki grills....serving & managing...I made somewhat of a "career" from this line of work.

Most places, regardless the classification, hold the same requirements for tipped wait staff. The side work varies, but is comparable. Slow periods are used for weekly/deep cleaning. Fair.

I did read on-line (so don't quote me on this) that if a tipped wage employee spend 20% or more of their shift doing non-tip earning duties, the employer has a legal obligation to pay them minimum wage for X amount of hours.

Honestly, I don't mind extra work..but plates, side bowls, bread plates, cups, forks, spoons and knives for every person that walks through the door adds up...it's especially noticeable when you're hand scrubbing each individual piece. It takes time away from customers and other necessities.

The only person benefitting is the ******* paying one employee a **** wage to preform two jobs.
 
#11
Keeping in mind, of course, that under no law in any US state are you automatically entitled to a pay increase for additional duties.
You listed three options, but ignored an obvious fourth: You could find a new job that treats you better...
I've worked for this family, on and off, since 2007. The original owner, of 35 years, hired me. She's trying to retire, but can't quite bring herself to just go....still working split shifts in the kitchen, 6 days a week.
She re-hired me last year when I got in a tight spot...I have a lot or respect for this woman and she's always been good to me. Her son is taking over the family business...power has been transitioning the last few years.
I keep saying I'll go when she does. In the meantime, I'd just like to do the job I am paid to do.
 
#12
As far as going on strike is concerned, you can do this if you're a union member, and the union agrees. If you're not a union member "going on strike" will just get you fired. And this would be legal.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
#13
As an aside , local health or other codes as to food service may require high water temperature wash /rinse equipment
_and a couple of complaints to the right authorities might spur some quick repairs !

Further, the high temperatures normally required might cause issues as to scalding and trigger workmens comp problems as well.

Customer health is also at risk .
 

cbg

Scotch Egg
#14
if a tipped wage employee spend 20% or more of their shift doing non-tip earning duties, the employer has a legal obligation to pay them minimum wage for X amount of hours.


It's not X amount of hours, but the hours spent in the non-tip earning duties. ARE you spending 20% of your time washing dishes?
 

not2cleverRed

Obvious Observer
#15
As an aside , local health or other codes as to food service may require high water temperature wash /rinse equipment
_and a couple of complaints to the right authorities might spur some quick repairs !

Further, the high temperatures normally required might cause issues as to scalding and trigger workmens comp problems as well.

Customer health is also at risk .
Exactly. Ditto.
 
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