Best Ohio Minimum Wage Attorney Answer: What is Ohio’s minimum wage? Did Ohio
minimum wage increase in 2020? What do employment attorneys think about this
year’s wage and hour issues? What can I do if my paycheck is short? Can my boss
make me do non-tipped work and still pay me at the tipped wage rate?
Happy New Year from The Spitz Law Firm! As of January 1, 2020, minimum wage
increased in Ohio for non-tipped employees, from $8.55 to $8.70 per hour!
Tipped employees’ base pay increased in the new year as well, from $4.30 to
$4.35 an hour. For workers under the age of 16, the minimum wage did not
change, it stayed at $7.25 per hour, which is the Federal Minimum wage.
The New Year represents a
variety of things for so many people. Maybe for some it is a fresh start, or a
new opportunity to reach a goal they have in mind for the New Year. Oprah
Winfrey’s perspective on the new year is an optimistic reminder for us all,
“Cheers to a new year, and another chance for us to get it right.” For others,
the New Year is a fresh opportunity for jerk bosses to take advantage of
employees to short them of their hard-earned cash.
Even though the Ohio minimum
wage increased this year, all of these numbers are far lower than our employment
attorneys think is fair. While $8.70 is an increase from last year,
it is still a far cry from a livable wage. No matter the rate though, there are
employers out there that look for ways to take advantage of their employees.
Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) mandates that covered employers
must follow the new minimum wage requirement. The new minimum wage requirement
applies to businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $314,000 per
year. As our wage and hour attorneys have blogged about regularly,
employers’ violations of minimum wage law are a big problem around Ohio.
(See Top Wage Lawyer: Is Everyone Entitled To
Earn Minimum Wage?; How Much Is Ohio’s Minimum Wage In 2016?; Can Amusement Park Workers Be Paid Less
Than Minimum Wage?; Can My Job Call Me A Volunteer And Not
Pay Me?; and Should Outside Sales People Be Paid
Minimum Wage?). When employers pay employees less than minimum wage, or do
not pay an employee for all hours worked, or doesn’t pay overtime pay as required
by law, the employer stole from the employee.
According to Policy Matters Ohio, around 217,000 Ohioans are
illegally paid less than minimum wage. The average Ohioan who is stolen from
loses an average $2,800 each year. What could you do with an extra $2,800? The
Spitz Law Firm Attorneys have been saying this for years, while employers
target workers of all demographics to steal from, women and workers of color
are most likely to be victimized. That is why it is important to double check
your paystub, to ensure that your boss has updated your pay rate to match the
new minimum wage increase.
Estimates show that among black
workers, 8.7 percent experienced wage theft compared to the 5.1 percent of
white workers. That means that black employees are 70.1 percent more likely
than their white counterparts to be victims of minimum wage discrimination. Everyone
likes to think, “oh it’s 2020, we’ve progressed beyond this.” But the truth is,
that discrimination and employers trying to cheat their employees is alive and
Wage violations do not come in
just one form or flavor. Sometimes, minimum wage violations are relatively
simple, and are easy to spot. A violation that is relatively straight forward
is when an employee adds up the amount of time they actually worked, and then
divide their total pay by the number of hours actually worked, and the amount
is less than minimum wage.
Sometimes, wage theft is more
complicated. Take this example from Bob Evans. In 2018, Bob Evans had to pay a
$3,000,000 settlement for a class of their employees. A group of tipped
employees filed a collective action against Bob Evans because they were
incorrectly paid after Bob Evans improperly misclassified their employees. Bob
Evans classified their employees as tipped employees, even though they spent at
least half of their time at work doing non-tipped work. In short, Bob Evans
tried to pay their employees at a much lower hourly rate by claiming they were
tipped, instead correctly classifying them in order to save money.
Under the FLSA,
an employer of tipped employee cannot pay the lower tipped wage during any of
the following three circumstances: First, when the employer does not tell
tipped employees of the provision of the tip-credit subsection of the FLSA.
Second, when the employer requires its tipped employees to perform non-tipped
work that is unrelated to the employees’ tipped occupation (i.e., duel
jobs). And third, when the employer requires its tipped employees to perform
non-tipped work that, although related to the employee’s tipped occupation,
exceeds twenty percent of the employee’s time worked during a work week.
Those may sound complicated,
but for the purposes of this story, the relevant circumstance is the third. Bob
Evans regularly required their servers to do non-tipped tasks for a substantial
amount of their time worked. According to the complaint, Bob Evans asked its
servers to scrub walls, sweep floors, vacuum floors, wash dishes, prepare
salads, prepare desserts, work the cash register, set up salad stations,
re-stock salad stations, break down salad stations, setting up soup stations,
re-stock soup stations, cleaning soup stations, setting up soda and juice
machines, re-stocking soda and juice machines, cleaning all of the above listed
items. It is important to note that some of these job duties are part of a
normal work day as a server. But some of these have nothing to do with serving
at all, dishwashing is a far cry from serving. And if asked to do a majority of
these tasks, a server would easily spend more than twenty percent of their
time- cleaning instead of performing tasks that could result in tipped money.
Twenty percent makes perfect
sense. There is the opportunity to make more money as a tipped employee as
opposed to an hourly employee. But when an employer takes away a tipped
employee’s opportunity to be tipped-that’s a serious problem. A waitress/waiter/server
can only make decent money if she has the opportunity to earn her tip.
Otherwise, the waitress/waiter/server has to spend his or her time on tasks
that will not result in a tip, and the employee is performing those tasks well
below the minimum wage hourly rate. With minimum wage already being so low, tipped
employees cannot afford to sacrifice more than 20 percent of their working time
to non-tipped activities. Asking tipped-employees to spend a substantial amount
of time performing non-tipped activities is wage theft.
Ultimately, Bob Evans agreed to
settle the case. In August 2018, Bob Evans agreed to pay a class of Bob Evans
employees, and similarly situated employees $2,790,000 for their stolen wages. The
amount that each individual employee gets depends on the total number of class
members and the numbers of hours each employee worked. That money should make a
dent in the hours of tipped wage opportunities that those employees missed out
Wage violations like this one
seem like a common-sense violation. Tipped employees need to be given the
opportunity to earn tips so that they can survive. It is heartless and
borderline evil for an employer to try to get away with paying employees $4.35
an hour with no tip money. It is hard to fathom that the same managers and
bosses who ask their tipped employees to devote more than twenty percent of
their time to non-tipped duties are often the same managers who used to be
tipped employees themselves.
It never hurts to double check
your rights as an employee. A phone call made all the difference for this class
of employees. All it takes is for one person to do some digging and ask the
right questions to restore a little bit of balance to the work force. Here, one
person called an employment attorney because they were concerned about the number
of other tasks they were asked to perform at work, and it resulted in a nearly
$3 million dollar settlement.
If you believe that your employer is
not paying you all of your wages, paying you less than minimum wage, unlawfully
deducting money from your paycheck, not paying you time and a half for
overtime, or is otherwise cheating you out of wages requires contact the minimum wage violation lawyers and overtime claim attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm today for a free
and confidential initial consultation. You may have a claim
under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Fair Labor Standards Act.
The wage and hour lawyers at The Spitz Law Firm will provide
you with the best options for your wage and hour pay dispute situation. If you
even think that you may be entitled to overtime pay that you are not being
paid, call 866-797-6040.
If you believe that your
employer is not paying you all of your wages, paying you less than minimum
wage, unlawfully deducting money from your paycheck, not paying you time and a
half for overtime, or is otherwise cheating you out of wages requires contact
the minimum wage
violation lawyers and
The Spitz Law Firm today for a free and
confidential initial consultation. You may have a claim under the
Federal Fair Labor Standards Act or Ohio Fair Labor Standards Act. The wage and hour
The Spitz Law Firm will provide you with the best options for your wage and
hour pay dispute situation. If you even think that you may be entitled to
overtime pay that you are not being paid, Call our office at 866-797-6040.
The materials available at
the top of this overtime, wage and hour web page and at this employment law
website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of
providing legal advice. If you are still asking, “Am I entitled to overtime?”,
“Does my job have to pay me for …”, “My paycheck is not right…” or “What do I
do if…”, the your best option is to contact an Ohio overtime attorney to obtain
advice with respect to FLSA questions or any particular employment law issue.
Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained
within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal
opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this site are the
opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz
Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.