Kentucky employers may be unfamiliar with all the nuances of employment law, and violations of wage and hour laws will likely increase as businesses struggle to survive and turn a profit in 2020. Among the vulnerable industries is the restaurant industry.

Overtime pay

There are a few ways that employers try to evade their obligation to pay overtime. Overtime is one and one-half of the employee’s regular rate of pay for hours in excess of 40 per workweek. Regular rate of pay can be tricky to calculate for tipped employees since it should include the average of all tips received in the workweek. Some restaurant owners do not pay overtime on tips, which results in employees being significantly underpaid.

Employers may also dodge their obligation to pay overtime by classifying an employee as “exempt” rather than “non-exempt.” Some employers even do this unknowingly, thinking that anyone with the title of “manager” is exempt from overtime. In fact, only certain professionals and executives are exempt from overtime requirements.

Independent contractors

Another way that some employers misclassify their employees is to call them independent contractors, meaning they would be exempt from many of the laws that apply to employees. Independent contractors are typically hired for a specific job and do not work regularly for one employer. If you are being paid as an independent contractor but feel like you are taking the place of an employee, you may have a claim for misclassification.

Tip pooling

Employees in the restaurant industry should also familiarize themselves with the laws pertaining to tip pooling. Some employers have a verbal tip pooling policy that is not clearly executed, which may allow employers to illegally take part of the employees’ wages. Employers may also unlawfully deduct things like breakage from an employee’s tips or base earnings. Be on the lookout for unexpected deductions.

Wage and hour violations are among the several ways that employers can mistreat their employees. Sexual harassment and other forms of harassment and discrimination are still prevalent in the restaurant and other industries. If you feel like you have been subjected to employment law violations, you may want to consult with an attorney to learn your rights, even if you are not sure whether you want to file a lawsuit.