What are Wage and Hour Violations?
Wage and hour laws are strictly monitored by federal and state laws and regulations. Employers can face serious sanctions when they break these rules. In addition, employees can also file lawsuits against their employers if they are subjected to a violation. There are many things that could be considered a wage-hour violation. Simply stated, companies must pay their employees for all hours worked, and they must provide them with all the paid break time that is required by law. Companies cannot shortchange their employees.
How the Fair Labor Standards Act Works
The primary law at issue is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Among other things, the FLSA applies to the following areas:
● Minimum wages
● Overtime pay
● Employment recordkeeping
● Child labor standards
Employers cannot expect any “under-the-table” freebies, nor can they pay their workers less than a minimum amount. As more companies try to get creative with their working arrangements, they are more likely to violate the FLSA.
In order to understand more about violations of the FLSA, it is important to understand some context behind the law. The FLSA was passed as part of The New Deal. The law was meant to deal with many of the labor abuses that happened during the Great Depression. With workers desperate for jobs, employers were relying on horrific employment practices to force employees to work more for less. While the FLSA had more limited application when it was passed, the law has been broadened over the years to protect more people. In addition, states like California have their own labor laws that protect employees.
You Can Sue Your Employer When They Violate Wage and Hour Rules
With that in mind, we will explain some scenarios that could be considered violations of the FLSA. It is important to understand what you can do about these violations. You have the right to file a lawsuit against the employer for financial compensation. Most often, these cases are filed as class action lawsuits on behalf of numerous workers. If your employer has been violating your legal rights, the chances are that they are doing the same to your fellow employees, and this is part of a pattern. Some FLSA cases have had as many as three million plaintiffs in the class.
Every year, there are thousands of FLSA lawsuits. The numbers are beginning to increase in this tight labor market, as employees have more power. Now that more U.S. employees are teleworking, the number of cases is expected to increase even more.
Not Paying Overtime Is the Most Prevalent FLSA Violation
The most common type of FLSA violation involves an employer’s failure to pay overtime. Employees who are covered by the FLSA (white-collar workers are generally exempted) must be paid time and a half overtime when they work more than 40 hours per week. The reality is that many employers force overtime on their workers without paying them extra. This is an even more pressing issue in the current economy when employers simply cannot find enough workers to do the job. More than half of FLSA cases involve allegations of unpaid overtime.
Furthermore, some states provide further overtime rules. For example, under California law, nonexempt employees must be paid daily overtime. What that means is that your employer is required to pay you time and half for any hour worked over 8 hours in the day, even if total number of hours worked in a week is less than 40 hours.
There are other lawsuits about working conditions that can fall under the FLSA, specifically when employees are due paid rest time and breaks.
Examples of Violations that Led to FLSA Settlements
Here are some examples of FLSA cases and the violations that led to large settlements or awards:
● A group of California employees settled a lawsuit with Wackenhut when they alleged that the employer did not provide them with rest and meal breaks.
● Servers often file lawsuits against restaurants that are allowed to pay them under $3 per hour when tips make up the difference between their pay and the minimum wage.
● Truck drivers filed a class-action lawsuit, claiming that their company misinformed them of the compensation that would be available to them at the conclusion of the company’s training program.
Potential FLSA Violations that Will Lead to Future Lawsuits
In addition, we expect the following potential types of wage and hour violations to be litigated more often in the coming months and years:
● Cases where the employer has misclassified a worker as an independent contractor in order to avoid paying certain employee benefits. This area has gotten far more attention in the gig economy, where companies like Lyft and DoorDash have seemingly made most of their workforce into independent contractors. There have been numerous recent settlements in this area.
● Cases where employers are not paying employees for all of the time that they are expected to log on and work when they are remotely employed. The remote work revolution ushered in by COVID-19 has changed the way that Americans work. The rules of when an employee has started work are less clear when they are at home, and employers may try to take advantage, expecting some unpaid pre-shift work. As employers try to find working arrangements to accommodate the new environment, they often have taken liberties. These cases are already surging.
As an employee, you may feel the need to go along with your employer when they are making unreasonable or illegal demands because you are worried about job security. The law is very clear about what is a violation. When dealing with cases like unpaid overtime, the violations are often clear-cut. If you suspect that you are being shortchanged by your employer, you have legal rights, and we can help you file a lawsuit.
Los Angeles Employment Attorneys
The law puts you on an equal footing with your employer in wage and hour cases. At the Arshakyan Law Firm, we can be your voice and fight for you when your employer has taken advantage of you. We can file an FLSA lawsuit on your behalf and get you the day in court that you deserve. Call us today at (888) 851-5005 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. We will take your case on a contingency basis, and we are not paid unless you win.