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Restaurant violated living wage rule, lawsuit says

For today's wage and hour story, we leave the area of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for the considerably colder confines of Buffalo, New York, where a restaurant in the Lake Erie city has been accused by six former employees of a number of violations that infringed upon their rights and violated a law created in 1999.

That law, the Living Wage Ordinance, requires businesses that receive city contracts to pay their employees a living wage. According to the six former employees, the restaurant -- William K's -- did not pay them the $13.06 per hour that is considered a living wage. The lawsuit was filed in federal court, and it makes a number of allegations:

  • The restaurant forced the employees to work off the clock
  • The restaurant failed to pay them the wages they were owed when they worked long shifts
  • The restaurant did not follow the Living Wage Ordinance
  • The restaurant did all of these things despite numerous warning from the City of Buffalo's Living Wage Commission

This is a relatively new lawsuit and it will take time for it to work its way through the legal system, but it does show how the wages workers get aren't always guaranteed to be free of controversy. 

The other lesson here is the incredible risk that workers in the service industry -- from bartenders to waiters, hostesses to cooks -- are at. Employers in the restaurant and food service industry are often caught acting in improper ways, especially when it comes to withholding wages or failing to pay their workers what they should receive.

Source: Buffalo News, "Lawsuit accuses William K's restaurant of wage violations," Phil Fairbanks, Jan. 30, 2018

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