Wage and Hour Cases-Make sure you are fairly paid
Linkedlin Corp., a popular social media site that allows business professionals to connect, agreed to pay nearly $6 million in unpaid overtime wages and damages to 359 employees last week following a Labor Department Investigation. This settlement brought attention, once again, to the federal law that mandates that workers in this country have a legal right to be properly paid and to be paid for all of the hours that they work. The Fair Labor Standards act requires that all non-exempt employees be paid at least minimum wage ($7.25/hr) and work no more than 40 hours per week, unless they are paid overtime. The U. S. Department of Labor/ Wage and Hour Division www.dol.gov/whd/ is responsible for enforcing the provisions of the Fair Labor Standers Act.
If you feel that you have been inadequately or improperly paid, you may file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division, or you can hire your own attorney and file an independent law suit. The FLSA provides that your employer must pay your attorney’s fees if you are successful in your private cause of action.
We have handled a number of cases involving violations of the FLSA. Issues that we have seen where employees were not adequately paid vary greatly. There have been instances where employees were required to work “off the clock.” In other words they were required to perform work related activates before they actually got to the work place and were not compensated for this time. Other examples are pre-shift and post-shift unpaid work. For example, some employees are required to put on safety gear or assemble equipment before they actually begin their shift time, known as “donning and doffing.” Employees are entitled to be paid for the time spent doing this.
Other issues that we have dealt with on behalf of our clients involve the failure to pay overtime. The FLSA requires that all employees who work more than 40 hours a week are entitled to be paid time and a half. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. We have handled cases where workers have been misclassified by the employer to avoid the requirement of paying time and a half for overtime. Some examples of misclassification are improperly classifying an employee as an outside salesman or being paid on a commission when actually the employee is just an ordinary worker. Other examples of misclassification are employees being given the status of a salaried employee, or assistant or mid level manger, when the work done by the employee is the same as that done by an ordinary worker. Other examples of misclassification involve piece work and commission work.
Many independent law suits alleging violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act are filed as class action law suits. This is because, typically, an individual worker’s valid claim may be quite small. Companywide, however, the claims in the aggregate could be substantial. The remedy of a class action allows all the workers to benefit from the law suit.
At Jinks, Crow and Dickson we continue to strive to give the best legal service possible to employees that feel they have been treated unfairly. We also assist small business in making sure that they comply with the provisions of federal law.