Owners won't pay overtime

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by sherman452, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. sherman452

    sherman452

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    The owners won't pay my overtime or that of the staff (BOH or FOH).  They instead have, historically, paid the staff in cash for the over hours.  I did not realize this was their system when I signed on and I, of course, do not agree with it and have told the owner that this is not acceptable to me.  Their only options are: Salary, pay my overtime or I walk.

    This restaurant is in NY state.

    This is illegal.

    Just looking for similar stories, if anyone has them.
     
  2. lagom

    lagom

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    Are they paying you under the table for the OT? Or are they simply paying cash?
     
  3. grande

    grande

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    Seems pretty common in NY/NE. I live in Seattle, and have one friend from Jersey, one from Boston, and one from NYC, and they all have stories about places not paying OT. Various systems were mentioned, such as just not paying past 40, paying OT at regular rates, etc.

    A little story, I had a problem where my employer was adjusting my time clocks. When I left I called and reported it to L&I. Their investigation was to callthe restaurant and ask the bartender if this was going on. So, best of luck.
     
  4. youngchefkarl

    youngchefkarl

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    Who cares? Just take the cash.
     
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  5. grande

    grande

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    I would take the cash if it was time and a half.... still illegal, though. Plus, you can't do anything if they screw you. And if you pitch a fuss and then go along with it, you're kind of in their pocket. You know, knowlege of illegal activities and what not.
     
  6. youngchefkarl

    youngchefkarl

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    With all due respect you're being paranoid. None of that would fall back on you. Cash is better for you, and the business, for obvious tax reasons. 
     
  7. grande

    grande

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    Legally it would not; how involved do you want to be with someone who can't run a business profitably without breaking the law?
    You're right that cash is better- in some ways. But, if they only pay cash for overtime, they benefit more than you do.
     
  8. grande

    grande

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    I guess I should add that in this business we tend to have an easy come- easy go approach to labor laws- at lesst I have seen that numerous times- but that waiving your legal rights as an employee is never, in my opinion, a good long term decision, even if you benefit in the short term. A good example is, what if you were badly burned working for cash off the clock? Your employer has deniability that you were working, and therefore can contest whether it's covered by L&I. Having been on the management end of several L&I claims, I can tell you that if a restaurant doesn't have to pay something, they aren't going to.
     
  9. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    Are they paying you time & half for all OT?
    If you are getting paid for all hrs worked, why sweat it?
    When I did movie work, we would sometimes work for foreign production company's, they alway paid cash less 10% on the spot on pay day or full hrs on payroll at approx 40% taxes.
     
  10. panini

    panini

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    @Sherman452,

    Chef, I would at least bring it up. The last thing you want at the end of the year is a 1099 for the cash they paid you.
    If you accept the cash then you kind of are a part of tax evasion.
     
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  11. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Tell them you will speak to someone at Dept. Of Labor and Dept. of Internal Revenue
     
  12. beastmasterflex

    beastmasterflex

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    Tell ya mutha to stop setting a bad example.
    That's exactly what it is... If they ask you to do something illegal once it will probably happen again. Although as you say they may just stick you with a 1099... not illegal but I feel like that would upset me more, especially if they didn't pay me time and a half.
    = Fired
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014
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  13. grande

    grande

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    I'm curious, guys: the OP seems set on what he's doing, apart from advice, has anyone else dealt directly with this?
     
    sherman452 likes this.
  14. fablesable

    fablesable

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    @Sherman452  
    I am always of the frame of mind that I can work anywhere doing what I do with my experience. Therefore if I feel uncomfortable with something that company/owner is doing whose ramifications from taking that cash means possible issues later with the government or otherwise (and with that attitude of take it or leave)........I would tell the owner "that if what he is offering is so good then shove it up his a$$ since good things never hurt and proceed to walk out the door wishing him well with the taxman as I will be reporting him asap! Screw him if he thinks to take advantage of good hard working people for his own immediate monetary gain and for thinking he's untouchable!"

    Now go look for an awesome opportunity with a company that appreciates you for what you bring to the table and pays you accordingly :)
     
  15. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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        Go talk to the necessary government agencies. I am in the Capitol District upstate and have dealt with the IRS, NYS tax dept, and Labor depts. They will be more than happy to explain what ever you want to know without needing to know who you work for. 

    NY is very serious about these issues. You are correct in demanding salary, overtime pay or walking. There is no reason to be caught up in some else's deceitful behavior. I suspect they are most likely engaged in other accounting inaccuracies and all of it will come back to bite them. The government has teams of people trained to spot these issues. 

    A good accountant can help them with payroll issues and perhaps a reworking of the schedule would help to cut down on the need for overtime. But if some one works it, they have to pay it. 

    In the small restaurant, too much overtime may indicate the need for another employee, but that can be best established after a review of kitchen production needs and FOH staffing needs. 

    I'm also very curious as to where you are located. 

     Fwiw, I've also found that employers who fudge on pay issues, tend to be the same ones who overlook or fudge on other oversight issues. The ability to make a profitable restaurant without fudging is one of the reasons restaurants are notoriously difficult to run. 
     
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  16. youngchefkarl

    youngchefkarl

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    Yeah I work with many guys that accept cash for overtime and not have any issues so watch your mouth.
     
  17. tweakz

    tweakz

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    When you work over 40 hours a week for meager pay; do you really want to fall into a higher tax bracket? I doubt I've ever worked for someone that did things totally legal. 

    My current employer exposed me to a grill cleaner that said 'read the msds before using this product'. He failed to provide the msds after I requested it 4 times in 2 months. I had a chronic cough for two years and woke up with fluid in my lungs ~5 times. I finally found the msds online and told him what it did to 1-2% of the population (caused pneumonitis or pulmonitis) and how I was one of that small percentile. I asked him to revert back to the original stuff we used and he said it was  corporate decision and he could do nothing about it.

    -That's just a small example of the illegal stuff that goes on, and what I've been through with this pos boss. Most people prefer cash. You're just going to make a bad name for yourself if you cause an upset. I'd suggest you either leave benevolently, or cave in and accept things. It's not like they're taking a cut of your tips like Mario and some other celeb chef were doing. 
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2014
  18. spoiledbroth

    spoiledbroth

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    I promise if you burn your employer you're going to have a hell of a time getting a position anywhere near there for a while. Restauranteurs talk !
     
  19. Iceman

    Iceman

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    WOW.
     
  20. grande

    grande

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    @tweakz your example is a great example of how people not doing things legit is bad for the employee; just because the problem already exists, doesn'tmean we have to perpetuate or encourage it.
    The worst part is, middle management, like sous chefs and lead cooks in corporate places, often have to enforce questionable corporate policies.