San Francisco Restaurant Workers Recover Unpaid Wages

Don't give them reason to spit in your food
Those hardworking cooks and servers who have been getting stiffed by their employers will finally get the money they rightfully earned.

Wage and Hour Division investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor conducted comprehensive reviews of payroll records and employment practices in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, in addition to employee interviews, and found that restaurants were violating minimum wage, overtime and record-keeping provisions.

As a result, 273 restaurant workers will divvy up $672,333 in unpaid minimum wages and overtime compensation, according to the feds.

No word on which restaurants were screwing over workers, but what investigators tells us the most common violations: not paying employees for all hours worked, such as pre-shift and post-shift work; paying employees cash wages "off the books;" paying fixed salaries for all hours worked, without regard to minimum wage and overtime requirements; missing payroll or failing to pay employees on scheduled pay days; and not maintaining accurate records of employees' wages and work hours, according to the investigation.

"We have found widespread labor violations among restaurants in well-known tourist areas in San Francisco and throughout Los Angeles County. This culture of noncompliance adversely impacts the wages and working conditions of many low-wage, vulnerable workers," Ruben Rosalez, regional administrator for the Wage and Hour Division in the West, said in a statement.

"We are pleased that these employees -- many of whom worked 10-hour shifts, five to six days per week -- will finally be paid their rightful wages."

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, as well as time-and-a-half of their regular rates for hours worked over 40 per week. The law also says employers must keep accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment, and prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who exercise their rights under the law. If employers don't abide by these rules, they are liable to pay back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to employees.

To be sure, the feds have created a really handy smartphone app to help employees track the hours they work and how much money they are owed. Available in English and Spanish, users can easily track regular work hours, break time, and overtime hours they worked. It's a convenient .

You can download this app from the Labor Department website.

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