On Jan. 1. 2019, the minimum wage for most workers in Ohio rose to $8.55/hour, which totals $342 for 40 hours before taxes. Employees who do not receive at least that much have the legal right to sue their employer for violating a law called the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA. This is true even for the majority of people who work on commission or who take temp positions that require reporting for work.
The FLSA does allow restaurants, bars, and similar businesses to pay tipped employees a lower minimum wage. At the time this posted, the minimum wage for tipped employees in Ohio was $4.30/hour.
Provisions of the FLSA and a similar Ohio state law do, however, require employers to make sure their tipped employees earn at least the standard minimum wage. Complying with those rules requires businesses to document that the hourly wage they pay plus the tips employees receive total at least $8.55/hour for each hour worked up to 40 hours.
Every business is required to inform employees of their right to receive the minimum wage and what that wage is. State regulators actually distribute wage posters that employers are encouraged to post in places where workers can easily see the information.
What Happens When Employers Do Not Pay the Minimum Wage in Ohio?
The five FLSA wage attorneys who work out of the Columbus, Ohio, offices of Barkan Meizlish DeRose Wentz Mclnerney Peifer, LLP, often find themselves representing hourly and tipped employees whose employers engage in wage theft. This illegal pay practice can take many forms, with two of the most-common being denying overtime and miscalculating tip credits.
The FLSA requires employers to pay nearly every minimum-wage employee time-and-half for each hour worked in excess of 40 hours during a 7-day period. In Ohio during 2019, the minimum overtime rate is $12.83. Tipped employees who go into overtime must also earn that time-and-half rate when their tips are properly accounted.
Restaurants, bars, and the like play many games when it comes to tips. Some tell workers that they are only legally entitled to earn up to the standard minimum wage. Others require workers to pool all tips and to accept whatever their manager determine their share is. Still others simply take away tips without returning any of the money.
Workers who notice that they are being paid less than the minimum wage should raise the issue with their managers. Honest mistakes do get made, and good employers quickly correct errors to make workers whole. When illegal pay practices persist, notifying the state attorney general’s office and contacting an FLSA wage and overtime attorney makes sense.
We have offices in Columbus, Cleveland and Marietta to serve workers all across Ohio. We offer free consultations and work hard to put together class action and collective lawsuits to ensure that each employee who was denied the minimum wage or failed to receive earned overtime receives the money the law requires an employer to pay. To speak with an experienced employment law attorney, call (614) 221-4221 or connect with us online.