|June 17, 2019 | www.fisherphillips.com|
Yes, indeed—the labor market is tight. And with the nationwide unemployment rate below 4 percent, 263,000 new jobs created in April 2019, and a sizzling economy, the labor market is likely to get even tighter. This is especially true for the hospitality industry, which has traditionally relied upon a steady stream of lower-skilled and younger applicants eager to enter into the job market. In fact, the National Restaurant Association predicts that jobs in the food service industry will top 15 million in 2019, and lists recruiting and retaining employees among the top challenges for operators.
Hotel and restaurant employers commonly require employees to wear uniforms, some as simple as a shirt with company logo, others requiring a more complete look: jacket or blouse and pants or skirt, or dress. Some employers, however, fail to consider the consequences of imposing the cost of the uniform on an employee. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer violates the law when a uniform deduction cuts into a non-exempt employee’s minimum wage or overtime wages. Thus, an employer must carefully consider the amount of deduction and the impact it will have on an employee’s statutorily protected wages.
It is never good to put off dealing with a problem employee. Whether it is misconduct, poor performance, or simply an attitude that impairs your team’s ability to work together well, the time to act is now. Waiting to act puts your organization at risk that the employee will engage in some sort of protected conduct that could “immunize” them from discipline. Claims of retaliation are growing every day and are particularly problematic because an employee who has an invalid underlying complaint plus a retaliation claim can still actually win the retaliation part of the case while losing on the underlying complaint.