Undercover Boss is a guilty pleasure for me. It’s fascinating to me to watch each of these episodes and see the different levels of sincerity, genuine concern, out and out bullshit, and varying viewpoints of each of these CEO’s that delve into their employees worlds.
Last night (DVR), I watched the above episode where Anthony Wedo, CEO of Buffets, Inc., works undercover at his restaurants. During his time, he met a married couple that both worked for his company at a Ryan’s in Lake Charles. During the course of the episode, you learned that the couple:
- worked different shifts, as they could not afford child care
- had one car, as they could not afford two
- were being evicted from their apartment and could not get another, as they could not save enough for a deposit
In the end, Mr. Wedo paid off the couple’s car, gave them money, gave them a 3 bedroom 2 bath house, and doubled the wife’s pay after giving her a promotion.
At no point did he seem to realize that he had met a couple that both worked at his restaurant and could not afford any of these things on their own easily, likely never would if they continued with the company, and that they were one of thousands of employees likely facing the same or remarkably similar issues.
“At the end of the day, what was really meaningful to me were the personal stories of my people,” Wedo said. “These are hard-working people trying to make ends meet in tough times. It inspired me to think about how I can create opportunities for families and people in our organization who are really struggling.”
Really? You may want to meet more than 3, there, Mr. Wedo.
The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. If a minimum wage worker is employed full-time (forty hours per week for 52 weeks), that worker would earn $15,080 annually.
In 2012, the poverty threshold for a single individual was $11,945 and the poverty threshold for a family of 4 with two children under 18 was $22,283.
Thus, a single full-time minimum wage worker has an income above the poverty threshold but if a full-time minimum wage worker is the sole source of income in a family of four, that family’s income is only 65% of the amount required to meet its basic needs.
Buffets, Inc. wage lawsuit: http://getmansweeney.com/current-cases/buffets-minimum-wage
This case is brought by three Servers who are working for or worked for Buffets, Inc. As tipped employees, the Servers are paid less than $4.00 per hour. The Plaintiffs allege that Buffets, Inc. has a policy of requiring Servers to perform non tip-producing work for which they should be paid at least the full minimum wage ($7.25 per hour under federal law and $7.85 under Ohio state law). They claim that Buffets, Inc. drives down its labor costs by requiring Servers to do a host of non-tip producing work, including washing dishes, cleaning floors, washing walls and furniture, emptying trash, preparing food, cleaning storage areas and light fixtures, blinds and picture frames, and stocking food service stations and that these tasks comprise more than 20% of Servers work. In addition, they claim that Buffets, Inc. requires Servers to work for no pay at all by requiring them to clock-in and out at pre-scheduled times regardless of when they actually begin or end work. This case seeks to compel Buffets, Inc. to pay the Plaintiffs and a class of similarly situated employees at least the minimum wage for their non tip-producing work for the past three years, an equal amount of liquidated damages, interest, and the costs and attorneys’ fees incurred in bringing this litigation.
Glassdoor on Buffet Holdings:
10% of employees recommend this company to a friend
At least its nice the folks on TV got a little something something. Pity about the other 17,000-ish employees.