Wage and hour disputes common in food service industry

In Tennessee and across the country, employment in the food services industry is often a thankless job. The hours can be long, the work is often grueling and the pay nominal. When that pay is illegally withheld, it can lead to wage and hour disputes. Recent investigations show that restaurant and food truck workers may be shortchanged on a regular basis.

The problem was made public when reporters in another state surveyed employees working in a city's hundreds of food trucks. Common complaints included paychecks that bounced, unpaid overtime and wages below the legal minimum. Wage issues may be more widespread in food trucks because they are often temporary businesses that rely upon verbal contracts when they hire employees.

Nonetheless, national statistics show that about 80 percent of eateries, whether food carts or brick-and-mortar restaurants, regularly fail to comply with federal laws regarding fair pay for their employees. This may total millions of dollars in unpaid wages. Why the food industry has such a high rate of illegally withheld wages is uncertain, but economists say it is a national problem that hits low-income workers hardest.

With the many restaurants and food trucks in the Nashville, Tennessee area, it is likely that such injustices exist among its workers as well. Federal law protects workers from employers who unjustly withhold pay. Those who are dealing with wage and hour disputes may feel they have no recourse, especially if they need their jobs to support their families. Many find the answers to their questions after seeking the advice of an attorney who defends the rights of workers.

Source: mystatesman.com, "Wage theft claims common at area restaurants, food trucks, experts say", Nolan Hicks, May 30, 2017

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