States team up to thwart new overtime rules

Noncommercial foodservice operations and other employers would be spared from costly new overtime pay regulations if 21 states succeed in the legal challenge they jointly filed yesterday.

The lawsuit asks the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to set aside the rules, which are scheduled to take effect on Dec. 1.

If the court rejects the request, restaurants and other businesses will be required after that date to pay overtime to any salaried employee who works more than 40 hours in a week and earns less than $47,476 on an annual basis.

The plaintiffs argue that the decades-old law upon which overtime pay rules are based did not intend to set a salary threshold as the primary means for determining who should be entitled to overtime pay and who should be exempt.

They also contend that the rules are an unconstitutional infringement on states’ rights. The federal government is in effect dictating what pay scale states must use to compensate their employees, the action asserts.

Hence, the suit contends, the rules should be set aside.

That would be good news for foodservice facilities, where many salaried managers earn less than $47,476 per year. Under the current threshold of $23,660 in annual pay, many of those managers are exempt.

The number of managers who would suddenly be entitled to pay-and-a-half compensation if they worked more than 40 hours is not known. But the Obama administration has estimated that the income of some 5 million people will rise because of the higher threshold.

The plaintiffs in yesterday’s suit argue that the nature of a salaried employee’s duties should be more of a determinant of overtime eligibility than how much he or she earns. If a salaried manager’s duties tend to be administrative and managerial, the action contends, the person should be exempt, even if they make less than the new threshold of $47,476.

Using that test might not help foodservice operations as much as white-collar businesses. Salaried employees routinely step in to help hourly staffers during peak periods, doing everything from busing tables to assisting with some of the cooking.

More From FoodService Director

Managing Your Business
management team

Last week’s NACUFS National Conference proved to be a treasure trove of management and staffing takeaways. Here are a few we noted at the annual event , held this year in Providence, R.I.

1. Make it scalable

When explaining something new to staff, instead of asking, “You got it?” or “You with me?” have employees rate how well they understand the new material on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ron Paul, a senior consulting partner for Partners in Leadership, during a session on building accountability in the workplace. People are likely to say yes even when they don’t fully grasp what you’...

Ideas and Innovation
song break

Once per month in a daily huddle, we dedicate a few minutes for the staff to sing a short song. The staff has responded so positively to this. They now bring costumes and other props. It's a few short minutes, but the payoff has been tremendous.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Ideas and Innovation
plastic straws

An item about the size of a pencil has become the latest target in foodservice operators’ sustainability plans. Though small, plastic straws are said to have a large impact on the environment, with Americans using approximately 500 million straws each day, according to a release from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, which temporarily ditched plastic straws as part of an Earth Day promotion this year.

In recent months, a growing number of eateries and cities across the United States have scrapped plastic straws. In July, Seattle enacted a ban on plastic straws and utensils, requiring...

Industry News & Opinion

Medford High School in Medford, Mass., is looking to add an orchard to its campus, Wicked Local reports.

The idea for the orchard was brought forth by students looking to help combat food insecurity. They are working with the school’s nutritionist to make the orchard a reality.

If planted, the orchard would be located inside the school’s courtyard and would grow fruits such as apples, paw paws, blueberries, peaches and plums. It would also include an outdoor classroom space.

The school committee signed off on the project last year; however, some administrators are...

FSD Resources

Code for Asynchronous jQuery Munchkin Tracking Code