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Reporting company for shady business

LuinmacLuinmac Registered User regular
edited March 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
How would one go about reporting a company (in this case, an LLC Coffee shop) for doing business that seems to be illegal (mostly fiscally)? The idea is to report them anonymously.

The types of things this company does:

Pays some employees under the table rather than on payroll, to avoid costs of payroll.
Takes a percentage of the tips (the owners, a married couple). From what I understand, even Starbucks has faced and lost lawsuits due to shift managers taking portons of the tips.
Modify employee hours and clock-in/out times.

Because this is a LLC, do they not follow the same laws as any other company?

Luinmac on

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    NotASenatorNotASenator Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you are one of the employees, I'd say get a lawyer.

    I mean, who do you want to report them to? The BBB is for consumer-related issues.

    NotASenator on
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    kaliyamakaliyama Left to find less-moderated fora Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    The IRS or your state franchise tax board would be who to report this to.

    kaliyama on
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    DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    You're not the guy from the other thread who got busted for stealing from his coffee shop, are you?

    Darkewolfe on
    What is this I don't even.
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    TexiKenTexiKen Dammit! That fish really got me!Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    You're not the guy from the other thread who got busted for stealing from his coffee shop, are you?

    I was thinking the same thing, getting caught so you're going to mess with them for catching you.

    TexiKen on
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    LuinmacLuinmac Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    NotACrook wrote: »
    If you are one of the employees, I'd say get a lawyer.

    I mean, who do you want to report them to? The BBB is for consumer-related issues.

    I've spoken with the employees. They aren't comfortable with seeking a lawyer (they're all quite young, and feel taken advantage of).
    kaliyama wrote: »
    The IRS or your state franchise tax board would be who to report this to.

    So the tip thing would classify as a tax issue with the IRS? Good to know. I figured the payroll issue would.
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    You're not the guy from the other thread who got busted for stealing from his coffee shop, are you?

    :P Nope

    Luinmac on
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    Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Luinmac wrote: »
    Modify employee hours and clock-in/out times.

    If by "modify hours" you mean "not pay their employees for the hours they worked", then that right there is fraud. The employees should seek a lawyer if they aren't a big fan of people stealing their money.


    As it turns out, "feeling taken advantage of" is a pretty good reason to contact a lawyer, especially if you are being taken advantage of.

    Monolithic_Dome on
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    LuinmacLuinmac Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Luinmac wrote: »
    Modify employee hours and clock-in/out times.

    If by "modify hours" you mean "not pay their employees for the hours they worked", then that right there is fraud. The employees should seek a lawyer if they aren't a big fan of people stealing their money.


    As it turns out, "feeling taken advantage of" is a pretty good reason to contact a lawyer, especially if you are being taken advantage of.

    In this case, their demeanor seems to be "Well, you probably weren't working much during that time, and it was slow, and you were talking to your friends in the cafe," etc. Although I've noticed the shop can be quite slow at times, I believe if the employees were scheduled during that time and were present, they should not be "rounding down" on their hours.

    Luinmac on
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    CoJoeTheLawyerCoJoeTheLawyer Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    If you are in the USA, your state department of labor and industry may be able to provide some help. However, if none of the employees are willing to come forward and blow the whistle, then it is all for naught.

    CoJoeTheLawyer on

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    matt has a problemmatt has a problem Points to 'off' Points to 'on'Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Starbucks lost its lawsuit in California over a California law that said managers weren't eligible for tip sharing. The debate was whether the shift leaders were classified as managers or not. Starbucks said no, because while the shift leaders had managerial responsibilities, they also had all the same responsibilities as regular employees, worked the register, made coffee, cleaned up etc. California saw it differently, so Starbucks lost.

    Unless you're in California, or any other state with a similar law, the only way the owners could get in trouble for splitting tips is if they aren't reporting it as income.

    matt has a problem on
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    LuinmacLuinmac Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Starbucks lost its lawsuit in California over a California law that said managers weren't eligible for tip sharing. The debate was whether the shift leaders were classified as managers or not. Starbucks said no, because while the shift leaders had managerial responsibilities, they also had all the same responsibilities as regular employees, worked the register, made coffee, cleaned up etc. California saw it differently, so Starbucks lost.

    Unless you're in California, or any other state with a similar law, the only way the owners could get in trouble for splitting tips is if they aren't reporting it as income.

    I highly doubt they are reporting it as income, as they don't seem like the kind of people to... It's purely an assumption, but I would say it has a good basis, and something easilly investigated were someone to do so.

    Then again, the employees aren't encouraged or informed about reporting theirs, and it would be on an "honor" system there... Tips aren't automatically taxed by the owners/payroll.

    Luinmac on
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    Teslan26Teslan26 Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Generally all tips go either partially disclosed or not at all by all parties - to boost wages of a low paying job that little bit extra.

    Why are you involved out of interest? You know the staff in a manner, is clear. Are you a previous employee? Is it one specific staffer that you have a relationship with?

    As for who to report them to, in reality it is not your place. Whoever you report to will not take your word for it, needing the employees to vouch for the truth, which is going to put them out of a job regardless.

    If they want the job so bad they are putting up with getting screwed, how is taking it from them going to help?

    Teslan26 on
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    MetroidZoidMetroidZoid Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Luinmac wrote: »
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    You're not the guy from the other thread who got busted for stealing from his coffee shop, are you?

    :P Nope

    This has all the workings of a sitcom. You, the employer, hurt in the past, but wanting to make a good name for him (her?)self. Him, the troublesome though regretful employee who wants to turn over a new leaf. The setting: a small town coffee shop with crazy customers and plenty of shenanigans afoot.

    It's foolproof!

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    GrizzledGrizzled Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Luinmac wrote: »
    In this case, their demeanor seems to be "Well, you probably weren't working much during that time, and it was slow, and you were talking to your friends in the cafe," etc. Although I've noticed the shop can be quite slow at times, I believe if the employees were scheduled during that time and were present, they should not be "rounding down" on their hours.

    Worked time = time at work, minus breaks you take where you clock out and clock back in again. You can't retroactively reduce someone's hours because not much was going on at the time they were working. If you're overstaffed, you can always send people home and/or reduce their scheduled hours in the future. I'm pretty sure that what you're describing here is illegal.

    Grizzled on
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    theclamtheclam Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    When I worked retail, the back room had a dozen posters up detailing local, state, and federal laws, listing illegal employer behaviors along with a bunch of phone numbers for reporting fraud to corporate HQ and to the state board of labor. I'm pretty sure they can report it anonymously, without needing to see a lawyer.

    theclam on
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    PongePonge Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    What will be the best case scenario here though? If you report them from fraud and everything, then everyone will possibly end up out of a job if the place gets shut down. I agree that it's bullshit they're not paying what they should but you maybe have to go about this carefully.

    Ponge on
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    ascannerlightlyascannerlightly Registered User regular
    edited March 2009
    Ponge wrote: »
    What will be the best case scenario here though? If you report them from fraud and everything, then everyone will possibly end up out of a job if the place gets shut down.
    the best-case scenario is that these people are penalized for their actions and (hopefully) get the reputation they deserve within their local business community. shenanigans go on like this long enough and the employees will most likely quit anyway, leaving a fresh crop of new hires to fall prey to these people (after it goes on for a while without them even realizing it, to begin with).

    ascannerlightly on
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