“How Much Am I Owed?” | Ep. 1: The D.C. Dishwasher Who Earns a Salary
At DCWageLaw, clients who walk in the door often want to know: “How much money am I owed?!” So we decided to write a series of examples of how we might answer this question.
In this edition, we look at the hypothetical example of a dishwasher who is paid a fixed weekly salary at a restaurant in D.C. This is one of the most common types of cases that we see.
Meet Mr. Portillo. Mr. Portillo works at ABC Restaurant in downtown D.C. He is responsible for washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, taking out the trash, and other little things.
Mr. Portillo works 66 hours per week at ABC Restaurant. He works 11 hours a day and 6 days a week (a fairly standard schedule for a dishwasher in a D.C. Restaurant). His daily schedule is from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with a one hour break. He works Monday through Saturday, and has Sundays off.
Meet Mr. Portillo’s boss, Mr. Evil. Mr. Evil pays Mr. Portillo a flat weekly salary of $900.00 every week.
Mr. Portillo has been working at ABC Restaurant for 2 years. During those two years, he has almost always worked the same schedule of 66 hours per week. And during those two years, Mr. Evil has always paid him a salary of $900.00 per week in cash.
So how much might Mr. Evil owe Mr. Portillo?! The answer: A LOT.
Why is Mr. Portillo owed money?
Mr. Portillo has a big claim for overtime wages. This is because workers like Mr. Portillo should generally earn “time and a half” for the hours they work over 40 in a week. In general, it is unlawful to pay a dishwasher a fixed salary when he or she works more than 40 hours in a week.
Mr. Portillo is a smart guy, so he comes to DCWageLaw so we can evaluate his claim.
Mr. Portillo was paid $900.00 for 66 hours of work per week, or about $13.64 per hour ($900 ÷ 66 = $13.64). Therefore, Mr. Evil should have paid “time and a half,” or $20.46, for every hour over 40 that Mr. Portillo worked each week ($13.64 × 1.5 = $20.46).
Mr. Portillo worked 66 hours a week. This means that Mr. Portillo worked 26 hours of overtime a week (66 – 40 = 26). Because Mr. Portillo should have been paid $20.46 instead of $13.64 for his overtime hours, he is owed $6.82 for every overtime hour ($20.46 – 13.64 = $6.82). And he is owed $177.32 in overtime wages for every week that he worked 26 overtime hours ($6.82 × 26 = $177.32).
Mr. Portillo has worked for ABC Restaurant for 2 years. That is 104 weeks (52 weeks in a year, 2 × 52 = 104). Therefore, over two years, Mr. Evil has deprived Mr. Portillo of about $18,441.28 in overtime wages (104 × $177.32 = $18,441.28).
Moreover, the D.C. Minimum Wage Act says that employers like Mr. Evil may be liable for 4 times the amount of any unpaid overtime wages (4 × $18,441.28 = $73,765.12).
That means, under D.C. law, Mr. Evil and ABC Restaurant may owe Mr. Portillo $73,765.12!!!
If this story sounds familiar, or if you think you may have some type of claim for unpaid wages, contact us for a free case consultation.