is it legal for an empoyer to ask a waitress making $3.23 an hour to do dishes?

I work as a waitress at a resturant and now our employer is telling the wait staff that they are to wash cups and silverware.

Asked on April 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

So long as you average your state's minimum wage (including tips) for your work week, you can be assigned to whatever work duties your employer chooses. Unless there is some employment contract or union agreement that exists, the business can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes having you wash dishes.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal: your responsibilities are whatever the employer tells you they are. The only issue is, *for the week* are you making *on average* minimum wage. It is ok if an individual hour or hours fall below, as long as you average to minimum or better, which for a waitress, includes with tips. Right now, minimum wage in your state is $8.90 per hour. Say you work 40 hours/week. So long as your total pay--wages plus tips--is equal to or greater than 40 x $8.90 or $336.00, you can do things like wash the dishes.

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