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Can restaurants make servers do side-work for less than minimum wage?

Employee Rights Attorneys in CT


No. Not in Connecticut!

Restaurants can pay servers less than the minimum wage ($10.10 in CT) for the time they spend being servers. This is because servers get tipped and the law allows restaurants to take a credit for some of those tips. Currently, servers get $6.38 per hour for their service work when they earn tips.

However, …

… restaurants may not pay that lower wage for all the work servers do. Many restaurants assign “side-work” to servers. This work is usually 30 – 60 minutes per day of general cleaning and stocking of the restaurant as whole. Sometimes servers are required to work before the restaurant opens or after it is closed. They don’t get tipped for this work and so they should receive the full minimum wage! And, if the server sues and wins, he or she is entitled to get the tip credit (the difference between $10.10 and $6.38 = $3.72) for the whole shift!

There are several lawsuits currently pending in Connecticut seeking back wages for classes of servers under this law. The restaurants are Dakotas and Ruby Tuesday. A server who worked for two years could recover over $10,000 in back wages plus penalty damages. Learn more….