People in West Virginia and across the nation who work in the food service industry are often mistreated on the job. There are many reasons for this. Frequently, those employed are immigrants, students or workers who need a higher degree of flexibility in their work schedule. Regardless, everyone has the right to receive what they are entitled to in terms of wages and overtime.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) specifically addresses restaurant and fast food pay requirements. Those who believe they have been deprived of their pay and other benefits should understand the steps to take to ensure they are fully compensated.

How the FLSA protects restaurant and fast food workers

Restaurants must meet a minimum financial requirement through their sales in order to fall under the rules of the FLSA. If the sales from one or more locations reach a minimum of $500,000 annually, they must follow FLSA regulations. A worker that is employed at a qualified restaurant is protected and should receive at least the minimum wage and overtime pay based on the law.

The minimum wage West Virginia restaurants must pay their non-exempt employees is $8.25 hourly. Employers cannot deduct wages for various reasons, such as shortfalls in cash registers or employee uniform costs.

Tips may not be a common concern in the fast food industry, but in other food service jobs, employees are often tipped by customers. Because tips are considered wages, employees who receive them can technically get paid less than the minimum wage from their employer. Once tips are factored in, however, an employee’s wage must still reach at least $8.25. The smallest hourly wage a tip-based employee can be paid is $2.13.

Fast food and restaurant employees are entitled to overtime wages. If a worker is unfamiliar with the law for overtime, an employer might try to skirt this requirement. Workers should receive 1.5 times their standard hourly pay for each hour they work past 40 within a work week. That means if a worker earns $8.25 per hour, then they should receive $12.375 for each hour of overtime they work.

Getting what is owed through a legal filing

Working in the restaurant and fast food industry can be arduous. Hardworking, blue-collar employees that are trying to stretch every dollar as far as they can should be able to make certain they receive all of the wages they are legally entitled to without fear of repercussions.

If your employer tries to deprive you of your wages by labeling you as an independent contractor, failing to pay adequate overtime wages or not allowing regular breaks, it might be a good idea to contact a lawyer. Consulting with professionals who have experience in overtime and wage violations can help with taking the necessary steps to file a case.