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.
The Fair 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 well.
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 on.
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 (216) 291-4744.
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 our Cleveland attorneys at (216) 291-4744. Call our Columbus attorneys at (614) 335-4685. Call our Cincinnati attorneys at (513) 818-3688. Call our Toledo attorneys at (419) 960-5926.
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.