A new Roundtable Retrospective from Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) seeks to unravel the remarkable tangle of wage-and-hour regulations throughout the United States. Based on an investigation that began with the center’s Labor and Employment Law Roundtables, authors Carolyn Richmond, Martha Lomanno, and David Sherwyn developed this guide to wage-and-hour regulations in all fifty U.S. states, as well as other jurisdictions, such as the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. They were assisted in this research by Darren Rumack and Jason Shapiro.

The Roundtable Retrospective,”Restaurants at the Crossroads: A State-by-State Summary of Key Wage-and-Hour Provisions,” is available via a PDF Document here at view the full report here.

“Federal regulations control in all jurisdictions, unless the state has enacted more stringent rules,” explained Sherwyn, an associate professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. “The problem for restaurant operators—and other employers—is that operators can be tripped up by this tangle of state wage-and-hour regulations. It is important to know what your state requires and when federal regulations are in effect. Carolyn Richmond, Martha Lomanno, and the research team have done a great service to the restaurant industry by compiling these regulations.” Richmond is a partner and co-chair of the Hospitality Practice Group of Fox Rothschild LLP, a partner of the CHR.

In addition to the breakdown of specific wage-and-hour regulations, the document outlines recent case law where restaurateurs have been found in violation of wage-and-hour regulations, to their detriment. Awards to the plaintiff employees in some cases amounted to several million dollars. The wage-and-hour regulations specify such matters as how often employees must be paid, minimum wages, premium pay rates, employees’ break and lunch patterns, and how to handle service charges and tip pools.

About The Center for Hospitality Research:

A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center’s 76 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit
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