Employees are frequently required to work longer hours, accomplishing more, while being paid less. To achieve this, employers will often misclassify employees as exempt from overtime, when they are not; as independent contractors, when in fact, they are bona fide employees; and demanding employees work off the clock; or failing to properly record all hours worked. The discrepancies between the wages earned and the hours worked is a section of employment law referred to as "Wage and Hour". If you have lost your job or been terminated due to wage and hour disputes, it may be in your best interest to contact the experienced employment attorneys at Martin & Jones.
The wage and hour provisions are governed by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Employers often violate three categories of the wage and hour requirements: unpaid wages, unpaid overtime wages and a failure to meet minimum wage requirements.
Generally speaking, non-exempt employees (regardless of whether they are paid by the hour or salary) must be compensated for any time spent working for the employer. This includes work that is performed before the employee is clocked in or after the employee is clocked out as well as work performed away from the employer’s job site.
A few examples of hours worked that should be compensated include:
- The salaried employee who is told he/she is exempt from overtime, but he/she does not meet the required salary test and/or the duties test to qualify for the exemption;
- A carpenter or plumber that is required to return to the shop to drop off a helper or tools on his way home, each day after clocking out;
- Factory workers who come in early to put on indispensable protective gear before clocking in, prior to the start of their shift and spending time taking it off, at the end of their shift, after clocking out;
- An employee who does extra work in the evenings in order to meet a deadline; and
- An employee whose half an hour lunch break is automatically deducted from his/her time card whether he/she takes the break or not.
The FLSA’s statutes dictating overtime requirements can be particularly complex, and thus particularly subject to misinterpretation (intentional or not) by employers. For non-exempt employees, the FLSA stipulates that workers must be paid at a rate of at least one and one half times their regular hourly rate for any hours worked over 40 per week. Although the law does not prohibit an employer from limiting the number of hours an employee works per week, the employee must be paid at time and one half for hours worked in excess of 40.
Lawyers Handling Class Action Wage and Hour Claims
Our firm has the experience and resources to successfully handle class action wage and hour lawsuits. These cases are often extremely complex, involving interpretations of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Since wage and hour claims have a significant financial impact on businesses, employers often put a lot of resources into fighting wage and hour violation claims. We are prepared to handle wage and hour litigation in state and federal courts as well as through the appellate process.
Contact Our Wage and Hour Attorneys
If you believe that your employer has violated their obligation under the Fair Labor Standards Act, please contact us today.