Today’s article is based on an October 31, 2016 story written by Jeff Duewel for the Grants Pass Daily Courier, republished by the Medford, Oregon-based Mail Tribune.
An Oregon restaurant owner owes $30,000 for a $30 mistake
Bobbi Best owns Blondies’ Bistro in Grants Pass, Oregon. In December 2015, a man named Martin Robinson applied for a cook’s position. In the restaurant industry, it is common practice for job candidates to display cooking proficiency in a “working interview.” As Best had routinely done with previous job applicants, she asked Robinson to sign a waiver in which he submitted to an unpaid working interview.
Signed Waivers of Acceptance Don’t Supersede Labor Regulations
Evidently, Best did not recognize that Oregon labor laws call for payment of at least minimum wage for time spent in working interviews. At minimum wage, the working interview would have earned Robinson about $30. The following day, Robinson worked a standard shift but then rejected the job in a text message to Best. Best paid him approximately $60 for the regular shift.
Ignoring It Won’t Make It Go Away
Robinson took Best to court where she was ordered to pay a fine for the violation. Best didn’t pay the initial fine which compounded to $4,400 in the early spring of 2016. As of October 31, 2016, she had paid over $13,000 in legal fees but still owed over $21,000 to Robinson and his lawyer.
There are multiple lessons to be learned from this story:
1. Gain an extensive understanding of state and federal labor provisions and keep up with changes.
2. Accurately track hours for employees with automated compliance tools.
3. If fined, pay right away before late penalties accumulate (you won’t be fined if you follow #1 and #2).
4. Be aware that a job applicant or employee may exploit a seemingly trivial infraction
Workforce Management Suite includes TimeWorksPlus, an automated time and attendance solution that tracks employee time to the minute and delivers essential tools to maintain regulatory compliance.
An Employee May Be Waiting For You to Slip Up
If this cautionary tale sends chills down your spine because you are not up to speed on local, state, or federal labor laws, call TriCore today to learn how TimeWorksPlus can give you peace of mind.
Jeff Duewel, “Working interview turns into nightmare for Grants Pass Bistro,” Mail Tribune, October 31, 2016, http://www.mailtribune.com/news/20161031/working-interview-turns-into-nightmare-for-grants-pass-bistro, accessed February 28, 2017
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