What Restaurant Workers in Southwest Florida Need to Know


Restaurant workers in Southwest Florida work very hard. In no other industry does the day-to-day, minute-to-minute performance of an employee mean so much to their take-home paycheck. According to the National Restaurant Association and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurant jobs account for 12 percent of employment in the state of Florida.

Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for staff members at restaurants to be treated unfairly. Unscrupulous employers and restaurant owners seek to cut costs at every possible corner, even if it means violating their workers’ legal rights. Knowledge is the first step in protecting yourself against exploitation and unlawful practices in a restaurant environment.

Tip Pooling

If you’re required to tip pool or tip share, you need to know where that money is going. Tipped employees can only be lawfully asked to share tips with other employees who would regularly receive tips. This means you can share with other servers, bartenders and bussers, but you can’t share tips with dishwashers and cooks. It’s not your responsibility to pay the wages of non-tipped workers. This is an unlawful practice that keeps employers from paying their back-of-house staff a legal wage. Finally, no employers are allowed to share in the pool. This means, you should never have to tip out to your boss or restaurant owner. You work hard for your tips, and you deserve to keep them.

Overtime Violations

Overtime violations are another common problem in the food-service industry. If you’re being asked to work off-the-clock, there’s a problem. Additionally, certain breaks and ‘working lunches’ also count toward overtime. Since there are a variety of ways employers try to get around paying overtime, concerned employees should contact an employment law attorney immediately if they suspect some type of violation or unfair treatment.

Employer Retaliation

If you have been the victim of any unfair and illegal practices at your restaurant, you should contact an experienced employment law attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can help you file a claim against your employer. It’s so important to note that your employer can’t legally retaliate against you after you file a claim. If you don’t speak up, the unlawful behavior isn’t going to stop. A skilled attorney can help you every step of the way, and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

Legal Disclaimer: The above guidelines are educational in nature and do not create an attorney/client relationship. It is highly recommended that all Florida citizens with employment law issues contact an experienced local Florida employment law attorney to assist them with specific facts and circumstances regarding their labor and employment law matter. If you have been the victim of illegal activities at your workplace, then feel free to contact Attorney Rothman at Weldon & Rothman, PL toll free at (877) 730-5180 or via e-mail at info@weldonrothman.com

Bradley P. Rothman is an experienced Florida employment law attorney who has been recognized by Super Lawyers as a Rising Star.  He is a principal member of Weldon & Rothman, PL – a Southwest Florida law firm with offices in Naples, Fort Myers, and Sarasota.


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