Sunday, 4 February 2007

Restaurants Ripping Off Workers

This is about as bad as it gets. A restaurant that already charges it's minimum wage servers 50 cents a shift for "washing their aprons and providing note pads and cash envelopes", trying to increase that charge to $2.00 per shift to claw back an increase in the minimum wage. I don't know why government's insist that this kind of stuff can be "legal" if the employees "agree to the deduction" - it should be illegal plain and simple, no exceptions.

Shouldn't things like this be part of the "cost of doing business"? Why not charge workers for the soap used to wash dishes? Or how about having the cooks pay for the dishes and cutlery? Unbelieveable.

Maybe people should go to the restaurant's web-site and send them your thoughts.

You know, there are far too many companies in the "restaurant and food industry" that are getting away with crap like this. Like charging minimum wage earners with "dine and dash" insurance, skimming off of the tips they receive, cheating workers out of pay by getting them to "work off the clock", and just basically breaking every labour standard in the book.

Stay tuned - I'm closely watching a case that is developing regarding a local restaurant ripping off it's workers in Regina, and once the details and facts get established in a bit more detail, I'm going to post that information on my blog.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a server, I can honestly say I find many of these "costs" quite frustrating. Even if a server doesn't "agree" to the deductions such as "tip out" or "dine and dash", if they do not pay it, many restaurants will have a cash owing tally sheet to keep track and force servers to pay up. My previous job had this tally sheet, and would let me know everyday if I had not paid my proper amount of "tip-out" to the cooks and other restaurant staff.

Considering I only make minimum wage as a server, and on average work three or four hour shifts, I find it repulsive that I am forced within this industry to hand over a cut of my hard earned tips.

By NO means am I saying the other staff don't work hard or deserve to make a decent wage, but why don't they get it from the employer? Why is it MY responsibility to pay these "extras" out of my personal income?

In my opinion, labour laws need to be seriously updated to protect serving staff from these types of illegal acts.

Nathan Schneider said...

HEAR HEAR! Larry hits it right on. It's time servers quit getting marginalized, and earned a decent wage!

Anonymous said...

The servers at Joe Badali's should start approaching their tables and say "Welcome folks, please keep your orders short and simple as I am charged for the use of this company issued notepad and money is a little tight right now, so I need to conserve space" - I wonder how the company would like their customers to hear this.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, I worked as a server at a popular restaurant chain. As servers, we were not allowed scheduled breaks. As "compensation", we were allowed to take brief coffee or cigarette breaks, provided we had another server covering our section while we were away.

One particular evening, a few hours into my shift, I had asked another server to watch my tables while I ran outside for a quick smoke. She said it wouldn't be a problem, as she wasn't busy. I approached the shift supervisor to let her know I was stepping out for a quick break, and she advised me this was "absolulely unacceptable" and that I was to return to work immediately.

I didn't understand why this was an issue, but I said 'ok' and went back to work.

Ten minutes later, the same supervisor told me I was to meet her out back immediately. She proceeded to tell me that asking to go for a smoke was "unacceptable" and that she was "letting me go". I said, "What? You are firing me over this?", and she said, "Absolutely!" I told her that she couldn't fire me on the spot as I had been employed with the company for over 3 months, and she said she could do whatever she wanted. I argued that it was unjust cause for termination and she reacted by arguing with me and treating me with disrespect and condescending words.

I left that evening furious at what had happened. The next morning, I went in to speak with the general manager of the restaurant. I told him that I would be approaching the labour board with my case, unless he would pay me two weeks severance, as well as all of the money I had paid into tip-outs (I had kept record of these amounts). He said that he had a friend who worked for the Saskatchewan Labour Board and that I would get nothing for my claim, as I had no basis for my complaints.

Needless to say, I spoke to this "friend", Jack, at the Labour Board. He helped me to recover all of the money I had paid to tip-outs, as well as two weeks worth of pay. This brought me a great deal of satisfaction. It was a small victory for me and a bit of revenge on that restaurant, though not nearly enough in my opinion.

That was my last experience working in a resataurant. I am fortunate that we have labour laws to support us as workers, however, I think that it our responsibility as workers to stand up for our rights and utilize these services and institutions that are there for our protection.

Too many restaurant workers think it is normal and acceptable to have to pay for tipouts, walkouts, specific uniforms, and supplies, such as notepads, aprons, and pens, which should be provided at no cost to the employee. They figure this is part of the job and continue to get taken advantage of each and every time they show up to work. This injustice has to stop, and we all need to voice our opinions so this industry gets the clue that what they are doing is completely and terribly wrong!!!

Citizen Wilson said...

write a book, or blg.

http://www.clamchowder.biz/

or http://www.shamelessrestaurants.com/

start a blog, and vent, its rather theraputic.