Is it legal for a restaurant to pay me below minimum wage?

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Is it legal for a restaurant to pay me below minimum wage?

I work at a restaurant as a barista – not a bartender. We are also in charge of to-go orders and merchandise checkout. We prepare all drinks for the entire restaurant such as coffee drinks, smoothies and have limited beer and wine bottles only, nothing on tap. how is it possible that we are all paid below minimum wage? I have worked as a barista in corporate and smaller coffee shops where we served hot food and prepared those as well and they paid the minimum wage requirement. What’s

different about this one?

Asked on August 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Do you receive tips? If so, they can pay you less than minimum because the law lets tipped employees receive sub-minimum wage so long as they receive sufficient tips each week to push their weekly earnings to at least equal that they would have received at minimum: i.e. right now minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If you work 40 hours per week at minimum, your gross pay (pre-tax) is $290/week. As long as, tax and tips, you earn at least $290, that is legal.
BUT if you are not being tipped at all, or your tips are insufficient to reach the level you would have received at minimum for the hours you worked, that is illegal; in that case, contact the department of labor to file a wage and hour complaint.


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