Minnesota’s legislature recently passed the Jobs and Economic Development Omnibus Bill, which became effective as of July 1, 2019. The bill alters existing state laws and creates both civil and criminal penalties for wage theft in addition to establishing new record keeping requirements for employers.
Changes Brought on by New Bill
Minnesota’s new law makes it an offense to commit wage theft, which is classified as engaging in any of the following offenses with the intent to defraud:
- Directly or indirectly causing any employee to give a receipt to another employee for wages that are greater than that which was actually paid.
- Directly or indirectly demanding, or receiving, a refund from any employee of wages owed to the employee under the terms of a contract with the employer.
- Failing to pay an employee all wages or compensation at the employee’s pay rate or rates.
- Making, or attempting to make, it appear that wages paid to an employee were greater than the amount that the employee actually received.
If it is determined that an employer has committed wage theft, the employer can end up facing a maximum of twenty (20) years in prison as well as receive a fine of up to $100,000 for any wage threat that involves a discrepancy of $35,000 or more.
Additional Changes to Minnesota Law
This new law also changes Minnesota statutes concerning when wages must be paid. Earnings are now explicitly covered in the types of wages that must be compensated at least once every thirty-one (31) days. Commissions that are earned by employees in accordance with the law must also be paid at least once every three (3) months.
Additionally, the law creates conditions to earning statements requiring that a statement must be provided to employees at the end of each pay period. As a result, under Minnesota law, employers must now include details about:
- Any allowances for meals or lodging;
- The physical address of the employer’s main office or place of business; and
- The rate of pay at which workers are compensated.
Record Keeping Issues for Restaurant Workers
Restaurant employers are often preoccupied with handling staff and service issues, but it is just as important for restaurant employers to keep adequate employment records. Some of the most common obstacles that restaurant employees encounter include:
- Failure by restaurant employers to log adequate details about hours of service provided because keeping details is too time or labor intensive.
- Restaurant employers who attempt to use small-business accounting programs but encounter problems in logging how many hours an employee performed.
- Restaurant employers not keeping adequate records regarding tip sharing and tips earned.
In many wage and hour cases involving restaurant employees, employers attempt to base their arguments on insufficient records. For restaurant employees who face the task of establishing that they were not adequately compensated, it can help greatly to retain the assistance of an experienced wage and hour attorney.
Speak with an Experienced Wage and Hour Attorney
Despite the increasing number of wage and hour record keeping regulations throughout the country, violations still regularly occur. If you are an employee who was paid less than you deserve from an employer, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney.
Contact Herrmann Law today to schedule an initial consultation.