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  • Food pay Texas

    I was wondering ..I work as a waitress in texas and get paid $2.13 per hour. My company has a new rule of taking 35 cents from each hour of our pay to pay for meal program. Is this legal if we dont eat at our job.
    Also is it legal for them to forbid us from bringing in food from home.
    Thanks.

  • #2
    I'll let Patty or DAW answer the first question.

    It is absolutely legal for them to forbid you to bring in food from home. In fact, given that you are employed at an establishment where food is prepared and served, it might even been a requirement of the health department that they forbid outside food from coming in. (But it's legal even if the health department has nothing to do with it.)
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      Are you saying money is deducted from your pay for a meal program but you
      are *not allowed* to take a meal break/eat a meal? (or do you take it upon
      yourself not to eat a meal)

      Texas doesn't require meal breaks but the employer can allow/require them.
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        food pay texas

        Originally posted by Betty3 View Post
        Are you saying money is deducted from your pay for a meal program but you
        are *not allowed* to take a meal break/eat a meal? (or do you take it upon
        yourself not to eat a meal)

        Texas doesn't require meal breaks but the employer can allow/require them.
        No we do have a lunch break. That part is fine. Money is deducted from our pay for food. Even for those of those of us that dont order or eat it. Is that legal?

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        • #5
          Thanks for the additional info. DAW or Patty should be along shortly.

          Might we ask why you don't eat the meal though.
          Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

          Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

          Comment


          • #6
            Food pay in texas

            I eat breakfast at home then get off just after lunch shift. The food there is great I am just to busy to worry about eating. I would have to beg to get a break at that time. when I get off I just want out of there.

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            • #7
              I am here, but I have some uncertainty on this question. I know part of the answer, but not all of it. First of all, I know the federal rules only. If TX has rules on this, and they might, I do not know those rules.

              Past that, we sort of have two different things happening. We have very specific rules on tips (see pointer). Past that, there are somewhat unrelated rules for minimum wage (2nd pointer). There is a general rule that deductions cannot impact MW. The major exception is "for the benefit of the employee" deductions, which the employer would likely claim. I would argue that since the employee is not actually eating the meal, that it is not "for the benefit of the employee" deduction. HOWEVER!!! I seem to remember that DOL issued guidance supporting such a practice. This is not an industry that I have ever worked or had serious interest in, so I failed to research or document this point.
              http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs15.htm
              http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs16.pdf
              "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
              Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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              • #8
                DAW, do you think that might be on OL? I don't have time to look for this right now, but I can search in the next few days. I've worked for a couple of restaurant corporations in the past, but neither of them did this.

                OP, I do know that Texas requires written authorizations for deductions. Did you authorize this deduction in writing?
                Last edited by Pattymd; 12-01-2010, 03:49 PM.
                I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                • #9
                  Food pay in texas

                  No they are making everyone sign it But since I work part time they kinda forgot to have me sign it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Pattymd View Post
                    DAW, do you think that might be on OL? I don't have time to look for this right now, but I can search in the next few days. I've worked for a couple of restaurant corporations in the past, but neither of them did this.
                    I did a quick look on the federal DOL opinion letter page and did not find it. That page only includes a small number of letters that the feds consider interesting, meaning that the vast majority of issued opinion letters never are published by federal DOL. There are three opinion letters with the word "meal" in the title there, none of which is the correct one.

                    If I had to guess, I would say that some years ago the decision (which may or may not be an opinion letter) was mentioned in the BNA newsletter. I remember thinking "how odd", but also did not bothered to hard research it because it does not interest me. If I was interested (and I am not) I could trying shaking through old BNA newsletters. If I was really interested, I would get my credit card out and go over to someplace like Lexus-Nexus. They tend to have a much better selection of opinion letters and court decisions then can be found on the free portion of the Internet. Of course, that can be a seriously expensive service.

                    One last problem. There is a reason why federal DOL is moving off of opinion letters as a general method of addressing issues. The feds have back peddled from too many opinion letters over the years. The newer (what-ever-it-is-called) method they are using now where they address fewer issues but do a lot more due diligence on the guidance is IMO a good idea.

                    The OP might want to try a written request to federal DOL. The chances that whoever answers the phones over there would know the answer is not good. If the feds directly address the OP's issues in writing, that would be official. Even if we find the old opinion letter, the feds can correctly say that it was official only to the people to whom it was originally issued.

                    And past that, TX can have it's own rules which do not have to be the same as the federal rules. Even if we can find the federal opinion letter, if the OP files a wage claim with TX-TWC, TX could in theory say that they do not agree with the federal opinion letter. The federal DOL opinion letter is certainly not legally binding on state DOLs, and most labor law decisions are made by state DOL, not federal DOL. The federal view means something, but even if I am remembering this correctly, it is of limited impact.

                    Federal FLSA law and related regulations are legally a big deal. States tend to follow federal laws and regulations. Opinion letters - not so much.
                    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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                    • #11
                      I am pretty sure that the TWC would consider a "condition of employment" authorization basically as good as no authorization at all.

                      OP, you can file a wage claim with the TWC now for improper deductions, or wait until you have another job and file as you walk out the door.
                      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                      • #12
                        Sorry, OP, realized we didn't answer your second question. Yes, it is legal for them to forbid outside food from coming in. In fact, there may be a health regulation requiring them to do so.
                        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                        • #13
                          It's okay; I answered that one right up at the top. I just left the payroll ones for you guys.
                          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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