Florida is flooded with restaurants and bars, thanks in large part to the fact that so many parts of the state attract high numbers of tourists. Because of this, residents all across Fort Lauderdale have likely spent some amount of time working as a server, bartender, host or cook.
While these are undoubtedly popular occupations, there are some serious legal problems workers in this industry face more often than people in other industries. For instance, as noted recently in this Washington Post article, restaurant workers (particularly servers) deal with harassment, discrimination and wage violations more often than people in non-tipped positions.
According to the article, the modern tipping system is putting servers at a serious disadvantage in the workforce.
To begin with, it creates an environment where a server is beholden to a customer, not the employer. In the interest of making more money from that customer, a server may put up with harassing comments and actions they otherwise would not stand for. Further, it should be troubling to learn that, according to the article, there are five times as many claims for sexual harassment per restaurant worker as there are for average workers.
Another issue with the tipping system is that it makes it possible for individual patrons to discriminate against a certain server. Rather than an employer paying every worker uniformly, compensation is left up to clients. This has reportedly led to non-white servers making less than white servers for the same work.
Finally, the tipping system can and does lead to wage disputes and violations. There are specific rules and policies for tipped workers in regard to minimum wage and employers making up the difference that tips do not. However, the U.S. Department of Labor reportedly found that 84 percent of tipped-worker employers were in violation of these standards.
Considering all the serious issues restaurant workers can be faced with, it should be understood that all employees in Florida have rights that need to be protected. If you feel as though your rights have been violated or an employer has failed to deal with a reported issue appropriately, it can be wise to consult an attorney to learn about your legal options.