Increase in California Restaurant Wage & Hour Violation Citations

Why has there been a recent increase in wage and hour violations for California restaurants?

“It’s a commitment to being more proactive, more aggressive, conducting more meaningful in depth investigations, and having deputies spend more time in the field and getting wages back in workers’ pockets.

“It’s also about letting the good employers who are following the law know that we are there to protect them,” said According to California Labor Commissioner, Julie Su.

Su says most investigations start when workers complain. This may lead to an investigation where the restaurant is visited, employees are interviewed, the restaurant is audited and payroll records are inspected thoroughly.

In many cases, workers receive a payout. If you own a restaurant, it’s a good idea to review the wage and hour laws to make sure you are in compliance. Next, employment practices liability insurance can help protect you financially in the event of a lawsuit.

If you have a restaurant in Southern California and would like to know more about employment practices liability insurance, call the restaurant insurance experts at Invensure, (949) 756-4100.

Restaurant Safety Tips to Lower your Workers’ Compensation Premiums

There are certain types of injuries that are common to restaurants and the food industry. If someone is injured and Workers’ Compensation Insurance handles the claim, the cost of your premium may go up.

In order to keep your Workers’ Compensation insurance premiums as low as possible, it is a good idea to develop a safety plan for your restaurant and train all employees in safe practices.

Here are some common injuries in restaurants and what you can do to prevent them.

Preventing slips, trips, and falls.

  • Mop up spills right away
  • Clean up dropped ice immediately
  • Put caution signs on wet floors
  • Put non-slip matting in areas that are constantly wet
  • Wear slip-resistant shoes

Rushing around in a busy restaurant can lead to avoidable accidents.

  • Slow down when you are entering swinging doors
  • Be extra careful around blind corners
  • Windows in doors, carefully placed mirrors, and a system to announce “coming in” or “coming out” can prevent unnecessary collisions
  • Keep walkways clear at all times
  • Don’t carry too many items that may block your view.

Burns are very common in the restaurant business.

  • Carry hot plates with trays, hot pads, or dry cloths
  • Provide safety training for hot beverage machines and other heated equipment

Cuts from sharp objects can be prevented.

  • Clean up broken dishes with a broom immediately. Do not use your hands
  • Be careful while washing dishes, there may be broken glassware or knives hidden beneath objects
  • Train employees to NEVER leave knives or broken glasses in the sink

Strains and sprains can be prevented by following some ergonomic advice and never overloading yourself.

  • Making multiple trips instead of carrying everything at one time
  • Carry heavy loads at waist height
  • Carry full coffee pots and pitchers with two hands
  • Hold heavy objects close to your body a with straight wrists
  • Don’t reach too far. Walk around the table to serve and keep commonly used items off the top shelf
  • Use neutral posture and vary your positions and tasks frequently.
  • Stretch and briefly rest every 15-20 minutes

Preventing violence in the workplace.

  • Learn how to handle customers and complaints calmly
  • Keep the cash register closed
  • Limit cash in the restaurant
  • Keep back doors closed and locked at all times
  • Develop and train employees in a safety action plan for robberies or violence

By implementing a good safety program, you can lower your Workers’ Compensation rates. If you have any questions, speak to an industry insurance specialist at (949) 756-4100.

California Restaurant Insurance

Restaurant Insurance in California can be a bit tricky. California has many laws to protect employees and strict OSHA regulations. In order to reduce your liability and protect yourself, as a restaurant owner, from financial disaster, you must purchase the right insurance for your restaurant.

A common problem in the restaurant industry is that owners use a friend of the family or their personal insurance broker to get them insurance. However, someone who does not specialize in insuring restaurants in California would not know the specific risks that restaurants face.

A few things to know about California Restaurant Insurance:

Employment Liability Practices Insurance
In California, 6 out of 10 restaurants have faced employee lawsuits. Because of the nature of the restaurant industry, it is difficult to control the hours that wait staff works. They may work overtime if the restaurant is busy, or may not take their meal period within the first 5 hours that they work (as what is stated by California law).

Many of the recent lawsuits have to do with overtime pay and the new “Wage Theft Protection” act that passed recently. In order to protect yourself from employee lawsuits, it is imperative that you get Employment Practices Liability Insurance.

Food Specific Coverages
In a restaurant, you feed the general public. There have been cases where food is contaminated and causes illness. A restaurant must have insurance that will protect them in the event that the food they serve causes people to become sick.

There are several types of coverages that apply directly to food safety. Depending on the type of business you have, they type of food you serve, and the volume of food you produce, one or more of these coverages can help protect you.

Product Liability, Food Spoilage Coverage, Food Contamination Coverage, and Food Recall are all coverages to consider for your restaurant business. A qualified agent can help you determine exactly what coverages can help protect your business.

Insurance for the Restaurant Building and Equipment
Restaurants in California have specific risks that are different from other kinds of businesses. It is possible that there can be a flood inside of the restaurant because of a water main or sewer break.

Leaks in the walls or a fire can damage adjoining businesses. If the building burns down and zoning in the area has changed, you could face additional challenges when rebuilding.

Restaurants have expensive equipment and a loss of power can result in all the food in the cooler or freezer spoiling. If a pizza oven breaks down and a business is unable to serve food for several days because of it, you could stand to lose a lot of business. Did you know there is coverage for that?

In sum, speak to an expert who works with restaurants in California for their insurance. You want someone who knows your industry inside and out who can help you best protect your business.

Invensure specializes in insuring restaurants in Southern California. Speak to an industry expert at (800) 331-4700.

Restaurant Insurance 101: The Basics of Business Insurance

Does a liability policy cover every incident? Of course not, but you can mitigate your legal risks by making sure you have the right policies in place. Here are the most common policies that your business will need to cap your legal and financial exposure:

General Liability (GL). This is the most common type of business liability policy. GL covers injuries caused to others, damage to the property of others, and may cover personal and advertising injury coverage, such as incidents caused by libel or slander. Many of these policies include products liability, which covers defective products that might cause injury or property damage.

Employment Practices Liability (EPLI). EPLI insurance is becoming more and more necessary for employers, both large and small alike. EPLI provides protection against employee lawsuits such as discrimination, sexual harassment, failure to employ, and many others. This coverage generally does not pay for punitive damages, but instead will pay for the company’s legal costs associated with a covered lawsuit.

Errors & Omissions Coverage (E&O). Also known as malpractice insurance, E&O provides coverage to individuals and firms who provide a certain expertise and counseling to their clients. When a professional receives payment in exchange for services, they are held to a high standard by both the client and the legal system. Although incidents are not common, when they do happen they are very costly.

Directors & Officers Liability (D&O). This type of insurance is taken out to protect legal action against directors and officers of a company. Any firm that has a board of directors, such as privately held companies, non-profit organizations, and homeowners associations, need this coverage. Anyone serving on a board without this coverage is putting their own personal assets at risk. Legal action against Directors and Officers can come from competitors, government agencies, creditors, employees, stockholders, and other third parties.

Auto Liability. A business should not neglect getting Auto Liability even if they don’t own any vehicles. If an incident happens during working hours and the injured employee was using their personal vehicle for business use, the business may be named as a party to legal action on any injury or property damage that may occur. If the business is using personal vehicles on the job full time, it is probably best to have those insured under the company to make sure the company has coverage against legal action due to an automobile incident.

Specialized Insurance for Restaurants and the Food Industry. In addition to the basics mentioned above, there are many policies that pertain specifically to the food industry. For example, food spoilage coverage, food contamination, food product liability, equipment breakdown, valet coverage, crime, flood, liquor liability, and mold are just a few that are important to most restaurants. Depending on your specific business, the types of coverage you need will vary.

Each business is different, which is why it’s so important to review all potential exposures with your agent to determine if any of these exposures can be covered by insurance. A business owner truly gets a great bang for their buck when having these liability policies because as mentioned earlier, you are dealing with experts who know how to leverage their expertise most effectively.

These types of insurance policies also bring more certainty to your business, the premium is all you pay, you have no worries of losing your business or facing significant setbacks due to spending tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars defending and paying claims that most people have no idea how to handle.

Couple Arrested for Not Having Workers’ Compensation Insurance in their California Restaurant

A couple that owned a small coffee shop was arrested for Workers’ Compensation Fraud. They did not have workers compensation insurance for their employees and were taken to jail on $20,000 bail each.

“Employers must provide their employees with insurance to cover injuries that occur on the job,” Commissioner Poizner said. “If we find that you have purposefully failed to do so, you will be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The original article is here.

If you have questions about your restaurant insurance in Southern California, call Vicki Fagan at (949) 756-4100. She is the restaurant insurance specialist at Invensure Insurance Brokers.

Insurance for California Restaurants

Invensure is pleased to announce a new program that is specifically designed for the restaurant industry in Southern California.

Many restaurant owners make the mistake of using a friend of the family or just shopping around on their own for restaurant insurance. However, in our experience, we have seen disasters strike because of the inexperience these insurance agents have with the restaurant industry in California.

California restaurants have different insurance needs than other businesses, and only a broker who is familiar with the unique risks that face the restaurant industry will provide the best protection for a restaurant owner.

Also, an independent broker works with many different insurance companies and can find a policy that best suits YOUR needs.

So, if you own or manage a restaurant in Southern California, give Invensure a call. Our restaurant insurance specialist will take care of you and protect your business better than anyone else can. Speak to a restaurant insurance and risk management specialist (800) 331-4700.