Industry Insights

Cooking Staff

Employment termination

Terminating an employment relationship is never easy. Many people fail to appreciate how personally and legally difficult separating someone’s employment is…

Health Care
Man wiping nose

California’s Paid Sick Leave Law

The California Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014 (“the Act”), entitling California employees to paid sick leave, has been in effect since July 1, 2015…

Hands on computer

ADA Compliance for Websites

Note: Highlighted words or sections indicate new or updated material from the last version of this guidance.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) generally requires that businesses provide qualified individuals with disabilities equal access to their programs, services, or activities.

This includes electronic media and websites.

Cell Phone in hand

Cellular Telephones

While at work, we expect our employees to devote their fully energy and attention to conducting company business. Receiving personal phone calls or making personal phone calls using company cell phones during working hours is not appropriate.

Passing credit card

Don’t be a target for hackers

While most restaurant owners accept credit and debit cards, very few understand the financial strain that may result if data thieves break into the

Labor + Employment

Employee Theft: Why do employees steal?

Employee theft in the workplace is a growing problem that affects many employers. Nearly 95 percent of all businesses suffer from theft in the workplace and approximately 75 percent of all employees steal from their employers at least once.

Labor + Employment
Chef standing by mixer

Employees versus independent contractors

With limited exceptions, workers who perform services for a business are either employees or independent contractors. An independent contractor relationship can benefit both the individual worker and the business.

Tip Jar

Employer-mandated tip pooling guidelines

Tips and their distribution among the staff have plagued the hospitality industry for years. Federal courts interpret the federal law differently and states have enacted their own statutes that place


Employment of minors

The California Labor Code defines a minor as “any person under the age of 18 years who is required to attend school …” Even a minor who is a…

Front of Restaurant

Gender identity and expression at work

California ranks among 21 states and the District of Columbia with laws and ordinances protecting against discrimination based on gender identity, demonstrating a growing awareness surrounding transgender employees in both public and private sectors.


Guide to family, medical and pregnancy leave

Depending on their size, California employers are required to comply with several leave of absence laws, including the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), and the Parent Leave Act (PLA).

Health Care

HIV and other communicable diseases

Since the California Restaurant Association first published the report AIDS in the Workplace: Facts and Fears in 1985, the level of public education and understanding of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and how HIV is contracted has changed considerably.

Gift Cards

Legal restrictions on gift cards and certificates

Note: Highlighted words or sections indicate new or updated material from the last version of this guidance.

Pursuant to Civil Code Section 1749.5, it is unlawful to sell gift certificates or gift cards with an expiration date. It is also unlawful to refuse to redeem for cash when the certificate value is less than $10. 


Marijuana use in restaurants

With the passage of Proposition 64, also known as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, California voters legalized the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 years old and over.

Military Service

Military leave: rights and responsibilities

Note: Highlighted words or sections indicate new or updated material from the last version of this guidance.

Both state and federal laws protect employees who are serving on active duty in the military from losing any employment rights or benefits.


Overtime: An overview of overtime

Note: Highlighted words or sections indicate new or updated material from the last version of this guidance.

The overtime rules affecting California’s food and alcohol/beverage service industries are described in Industrial Welfare Commission Order 5-2001 (Hours, Wages and Working Conditions in the Public Housekeeping Industry). The federal rules are contained in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Labor + Employment
Stacks of Binders


Many restaurant operators are unfortunately all too familiar with the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). PAGA claims continue to increase every year due to, among other things, the potential penalties and attorneys’ fees that can be awarded in these claims and the fact that they cannot be arbitrated.

Waitress talking to customers

Sexual Harassment: An employer’s guide

Note: Highlighted words or sections indicate new or updated material from the last version of this guidance.

In today’s current climate, sexual harassment has become a prevalent and prominent topic of discourse in the media.  Sexual harassment awareness has expanded from high-profile incidents in politics, sports, and the music industry to the employment sphere and the workplace. 


Smoking and the hospitality industry

California continues to set national and worldwide precedent in prohibitions on indoor and outdoor smoking. The following is a summary of California’s statewide…

Labor + Employment

Social Security Administration – Employer Correction Notices

In spring 2019, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it will begin to issue Employer Correction Request (EDCOR) notices to employers (and third-party service providers) informing them of discrepancies between an employee’s W-2 information and SSA’s records.

Labor + Employment

Split Shifts: How to handle split shifts

The Industrial Welfare Commission defines a split shift as a work schedule that is interrupted by a non-paid, non-working period established by the employer that is not a rest or meal period. (See IWC Wage Order No. 5, Section 2).

People talking in restaurant

The dos and don’ts of interviewing and hiring

Note: Highlighted words or sections indicate new or updated material from the last version of this guidance.

All too often, the restaurant industry suffers from “warm body syndrome.” Due to the pressures of this business, food service operators are often too quick to offer a job to a person who is unqualified.

W2 with money

Tip reporting requirements

TEFRA requires tipped employees working at “large food or beverage establishments” to report, at a minimum, 8 percent of the establishment’s gross…

Chef working

Tips defined and guidelines

On June 20, 2012, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2012-18 to clarify and update existing guidelines on taxation issues affecting the hospitality industry.

Money on plate

Understanding and guidance on surcharges

Note: Highlighted words or sections indicate new or updated material from the last version of this guidance.

Due to a myriad of legislative and court decisions, some restaurants in California have elected to add a surcharge to their receipts to defray increased costs incurred over the last several years.

Young Lady Waiting

Uniforms: Guide to uniforms

Many restaurant operators are confused about uniforms. What they are? Who buys them? Who takes care of them?  These are all very common questions that operators will have.

Minimum Wage
Scrabble spelling wage

Wage deductions and garnishments

With the exception of standard payroll tax deductions, the law generally prohibits an employer from deducting any wages from an employee’s paycheck…

Labor + Employment
Waiter delivering food

Wage enforcement

Wage theft occurs when an employee earns less money than his or her employer is legally required to pay. This usually arises when an employee alleges…

Labor + Employment
Mopping floor

“Joint Employer” Liability for Franchisors and Restaurants After Dynamex

Note: Highlighted words or sections indicate new or updated material from the last version of this guidance.

Like an earthquake, the 2018 case of Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court changed California’s legal landscape when it hit. In an instant, every worker in the state of California was presumed to be an employee, every business that used independent contractors was at risk of being sued for misclassification and industries whose existence depended on the use of independent contractors became threatened with extinction.