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Upaid Wage Hour Overtime


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Unpaid Wage Hour Overtime Employee Lawsuits

Unpaid Wage Hour Overtime | Lawsuits, Lawyers | Pay Deduction, Unclaimed Wages, Mandatory Overtime | Employers At Fault, Avoided Paying Employees

Have you been denied overtime pay or other wages you rightfully earned? Federal law requires that employees be paid for all hours they work. For most, this includes overtime pay at time and one-half their regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. Yet despite the law, many employers look for ways, most of which are illegal, to deny overtime pay and even regular wages to their employees. But increasingly, workers are fighting back and winning their back pay by filing wage and hour theft lawsuits against their employers.

Employees of Wal-Mart, Wachovia Securities, Washington Mutual, Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, Starbucks, IBM, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch are just some who have been awarded back pay and sometimes damages in wage and hour theft lawsuits. If your employer has illegally refused to pay wages you rightfully earned, including overtime pay, our wage and hour theft lawyers can help you win back pay and other damages. We are offering free legal consultations to employees interested in filing wage and hour theft lawsuits to win back their illegally denied wages. To find out how we can help you, please call one of our wage and hour theft lawyers today.

Wage and Hour Laws

Wage and hour theft lawsuits involve cases where employers have used a variety of tactics to avoid paying employees wages they are due. In some cases, they may require employees to work "off-the-clock", sometimes before or after work, or during lunch hours, without pay. Employers may also misclassify employees to avoid paying overtime.

Refusing to pay employees overtime is one of the most common forms of wage and hour theft. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that most employees in the U.S. be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, as well as overtime pay at time and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40 hours in a workweek. However, the FLSA does provide exemptions for employees employed as executive, administrative, professional and outside sales employees, as well as certain computer employees. In general, employees are exempt from overtime pay if they are paid on a salary basis at not less than $455 per week. Contrary to what many believe, however, job titles do not determine exempt status.

State wage and hour laws may grant employees even greater rights to ensure they are not denied rightful wages. For example, the New York Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), effective April 12, 2011, imposes strict new notification requirements on employers, as well as tougher penalties for both willful and non-willful violations of the wage-hour laws. Among other things, the WTPA amends the New York Labor Law by raising the liquidated damages recoverable by employees who win a civil or administrative action for unpaid overtime from the current 25 percent of the lost wages to 100 percent.  Employers who fail to follow overtime and minimum wage laws may also face criminal penalties under the New York WTPA.

Employers can violate wage and hour laws in a variety of ways, and in many cases, employees are not even aware that their rights are being illegally denied. Some common forms of wage and hour theft include:

  • Refusing to Pay for Overtime That Has Not Been Approved in Advance - While employers can require that employees seek approval prior to working any overtime, under the FLSA, they cannot deny overtime pay for any hours an employee is “suffered or permitted" to work.
  • Treating Salaried Employees as Exempt from Overtime - Each employee's duties - not their salary status - determine whether or not they are exempt from receiving overtime pay.
  • Docking Hours of Exempt Employees - Under the FLSA, an employer is not allowed to dock from an exempt employee’s pay for a partial day absence for any reason (except FMLA leave), or an absence due to jury duty, service as a trial witness or the employer’s operations.
  • Misclassifying Assistant Managers - Only under certain circumstances - for example, if the assistant manager makes recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion or any other change in status of other employees that carry weight - are assistant managers exempt from overtime pay.
  • Misclassifying Highly Skilled Technical Employees - Examples of employees who are often misclassified as exempt include paralegals, paramedics and field technicians.

Wage and Hour Lawsuits

More and more, employees unjustly denied wages and overtime pay are filing wage and hour theft lawsuits, and in many cases, they've had great success. According to The Department of Labor, in fiscal year 2008, more than 197,000 employees received a total of $140.2 million in minimum wage and overtime back wages. The majority of these violations involved unpaid overtime.

According to Kiplinger, the ten largest wage and hour lawsuit settlements in 2009 totaled a whopping $363.6 million. These cases included:

  • Wal-Mart Wage & Hour Employment Practices Litigation, $65 million. Workers alleged Wal-Mart intentionally altered payroll records to reduce labor cost.
  • Brattain v. Richmond State Hospital, $42.4 million. Employees alleged they were required to work 40-hour workweeks while other state workers only were required to work 37.5-hour workweeks, even though all state employees of the same job classification were compensated equally.
  • Wachovia Securities Wage & Hour Litigation, $39 million. Employees claimed they were denied overtime pay and other wages.
  • Westerfield v. Washington Mutual Inc., $38 million. Current and former loan consultants claimed the company failed to pay them for time worked in the morning, evening, during lunch and on weekends.
  • Parris v. Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse, $29.5 million. Workers alleged they were required to perform duties before and after their scheduled shifts for which they were not paid.
  • Veliz v. Cintas Corp., $22.75 million. Delivery drivers claimed that Cintas misclassified route drivers as exempt employees in order to avoid paying overtime.

Legal Help for Victims of Wage and Hour Theft

If you believe you are the victim of wage and hour theft because your employer violated state and/or federal employment laws, you may have valuable legal rights. To find out how our wage and hour theft lawyers can help you, please fill out our online form, or call 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529) today.

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