As the weather warms up around the country and spring quickly transitions to summer, festival season will begin … including my personal favorite, the beer festival.
Beer festivals, however, raise a few specific wage and hour traps for participating breweries. Here's the 411.
Craft breweries take note — you cannot have volunteer labor working your tent, table, or other display at a beer festival.Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, any employee working for a for-profit business must be paid at least the statutory minimum wage … either in cash wages, or in states permitting employers to take a credit against the minimum wage from tips earned, a combination of cash wages plus tips. The salary paid to exempt employees should cover their time working a festival. But your non-exempt employees must earn at least the minimum wage for all hours worked. Volunteer, unpaid labor is per se unlawful. It will either buy you a visit from a Department of Labor Wage and Hour investigator or a class/collective action plaintiff-side employment lawyer. You don't want either of these visits, especially when your FLSA violation is indefensible.