Phillips & Associates

Wage Violations in the Car Wash Industry

New York City Attorneys Protecting the Rights of Employees

People who work in the car wash industry in New York and other states are routinely cheated out of the full scope of their wages. They may be forced to work off the clock, not paid minimum wage, misclassified as salaried or independent contractors, or forced to spend too much time doing non-tipped work when they rely on tips. One of the most common wage violations in this industry is a failure to pay overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act or state law. Unfortunately, many car wash employees may not be aware of their options. At Phillips & Associates, our wage violations lawyers help workers throughout New York City fight for their rights.

Wage Violations in the Car Wash Industry

Tipped employees are those who usually receive over $30 in tips on a monthly basis. One issue that particularly affects the car wash industry is tip pooling. This is acceptable, according to the United States Department of Labor, only if the employees who share the tips have participated in serving the customers who left the tips.

For example, in the car wash industry, the relevant question is whether all of the tipped employees took steps to wash and dry a certain car. The tip pool cannot include employees who do not customarily get tips, such as a janitor or a manager. An employer is required to notify employees of a required tip pool contribution.

Employers cannot use an employee's tips for any reason other than furthering a valid tip pool or applying it as a "tip credit" against its obligation to pay an employee the minimum wage. Tip credit is another issue that is often litigated in employee wage disputes. Under federal law, only those tips that are actually received by an employee can be counted when applying a tip credit. Under New York law, there is a rebuttable presumption that anything a customer leaves over and above the charge for services or products plus tax is considered a gratuity or tip that has to be distributed to employees.

Another common wage and hour violation in the industry involves the "spread of hours." This is the length of the interval between the start and end of an employee's workday. For example, a spread at a car wash could be 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., including time off for meals and rest breaks. If the spread is more than 10 hours, an employee is supposed to receive an additional hour of pay and that pay is not included in the rate for purposes of calculating overtime. A minimum wage tip credit cannot be used to offset the spread of hours hourly rate.

Bring an Overtime Claim with the Guidance of a New York City Lawyer

Employees of car washes are entitled to be paid according to the law, but unfortunately wage violations are all too common. If you and your coworkers have not been paid overtime or the minimum wage by a New York City employer, a knowledgeable attorney at Phillips & Associates can advise you. Call us at (212) 248-7431 or contact us through our online form for a free appointment. We serve employees throughout the five boroughs of Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island as well as in Westchester County and Long Island.

45 Broadway, #620,
New York NY, 10006
Tel: 212-248-7431
Fax: 212-901-2107

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