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10 Legal Issues For Restaurant Operators to Watch

Nation's Restaurant News
February 1, 2017

Jordan Bernstein's and Taylor Burras' article, "10 Legal Issues For Restaurant Operators to Watch," was published in Nation's Restaurant News on February 1, 2017.

From the article...

"With the election of Donald Trump as president, labor-related stress that restaurant operators have experienced in recent months may soon relax. However, new federal, state and municipal regulations will impact operators in 2017. Regardless of federal policy, restaurants will face uncertainty when it comes to employment and regulations.

Here are 10 legal developments that should be front and center for operators this year:

  1. Overtime

In early 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor published a final rule updating regulations governing the exemption of executive, administrative and professional employees from the minimum wage and overtime pay protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This rule doubles the annual salary threshold that generally determines who qualifies for overtime pay under federal law, from $23,660 to $47,476.

The rule dramatically impacts restaurants with mid-management employees. It was scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 1, 2016, but in late November, a federal judge in Texas blocked the rule nationwide, after 21 states joined to file a lawsuit alleging that the new overtime regulations were an unconstitutional exercise of power.

Additionally, Trump has nominated Andy Puzder as secretary of labor. Puzder, formerly CEO of CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., parent to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, is an outspoken critic of worker protections enacted by the Obama administration. A labor department under Puzder is unlikely to take a favorable view of the new overtime rule, and it is likely to be scrapped or significantly revised."

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