|March 1, 2009 | www.fisherphillips.com|
During the last quarter of 2008 we were aware of 14 petitions filed against hospitality employers. During that same period (the last quarter of 2008) we are aware of eight petitions which went all the way to an election. In a chilling reversal of statistics we've seen in the past, unions were victorious in all eight elections.
Workers' compensation coverage is a substantial expense for many smaller restaurants, but essential (and required) for all employers. The workers' compensation system is a no-fault system that provides medical coverage, disability payments or compensation for employees injured or killed on the job. In exchange for this no-fault coverage, employees are generally not permitted to sue their employers for the tort of negligence in civil courts. Awards for disabling industrial injuries and death are typically significantly lower than what employees could recover if they were allowed to file a civil lawsuit.
The hospitality industry has not escaped the nationwide wave of wage-hour lawsuits. A contentious area under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act has involved the practice of requiring tipped employees to contribute some of their tips to a pool that is split among other workers.