Working in a restaurant is a high-pressure, fast-moving job. Workers often have to move a fast pace, often while carrying heavy plates, wielding knives, operating stoves and dealing with other potentially dangerous equipment. In this atmosphere, it’s important that restaurants do what they can to prevent accidents. Indeed, restaurants have legal responsibilities toward the safety of their employees.
Some of the duties California law imposes on restaurant owners include:
- Keeping floors in good repair, without dangerous obstructions and reasonably free of grease or oil.
- Storing and transporting compressed gas cylinders in a way that protects against injuries from rolling or falling.
- Providing adequate safety and first aid equipment.
- Providing adequate safety training.
Workers’ compensation and other protections
Even when restaurant owners comply with all safety rules, it is perhaps inevitable that accidents will happen and someone will be hurt. When this happens, restaurant workers may need help with their medical bills and other costs while they recover. For this, most California workers can rely on the state’s workers’ compensation program. Nearly all employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, so that workers can draw benefits after they are injured on the job.
It’s also important to note that restaurant workers are protected by state and federal law from retaliation after they are injured on the job or report a safety or health hazard. If, for instance, an employer fires a worker or cuts back their hours after the worker has been injured on the job and received workers’ compensation benefits, the employer may have committed illegal retaliation.
Restaurant work isn’t easy, but it has its rewards, and restaurant workers have their rights. Workers can speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to learn more about their rights and options for receiving benefits.