The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for maintaining safe and fair working conditions for all employees working in the United States. One of the main responsibilities that the DOL has is educating both employers and workers of the rights provided to employees under laws such as the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). If a worker believes that her rights as an employee are being violated, she can choose to report her employer to the DOL, rather than filing a lawsuit herself. The DOL is not required to investigate every report of labor violations that it receives. In the event that the DOL chooses not to pursue a case, the employee then has the option of filing a lawsuit.
After investigating a case of alleged labor law violations, the DOL is capable of filing a lawsuit against an employer on behalf of a worker or group of workers, but a more desirable solution is for the department to reach a compliance agreement with the employer. In a compliance agreement, the employer pays damages and back wages (depending on the violations) to the wronged employees, but does not have to pay legal fees. In a court case, the defendant would end up paying for its own legal fees, as well as the legal fees of the plaintiff, if the plaintiff prevailed in the case or if the parties settled outside of court.
A recent example of a compliance agreement that the DOL reached involved the social media company, LinkedIn, which allegedly failed to properly pay its employees when they worked overtime. Under the FLSA, any time an hourly, nonexempt employee works more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week, that employee is entitled to one and one-half times her normal hourly rate for all overtime worked.
In order to make sure that employees are properly compensated for all of the time that they spend working, the FLSA has strict requirements for employers to keep track of all of the hours that employees spend working, as well as all wages earned by, and paid to, those employees. In the event that an employer fails to maintain these records and finds itself facing a wage and hour lawsuit, the plaintiff could use the lack of records to prove that the failure to pay overtime was done willfully and intentionally.
Lucky for LinkedIn, their case never reached the courts. Instead, they came to a compliance agreement with the DOL, which states that LinkedIn will pay $3.3 million in unpaid overtime wages and $2.5 million in liquidated damages to its 359 employees working in California, Illinois, Nebraska, and New York. The agreement also states that LinkedIn will provide compliance training and distribute its policy prohibiting off-the-clock work to all nonexempt employees and their managers; meet with current managers in order to instruct them on the proper method for recording and paying for all hours worked; and inform managers and employees of LinkedIn’s policy of prohibiting retaliation against any employee who raises concerns about violations of labor law.
The Chicago class action lawyers at Lubin Austermuehle are investigating unpaid overtime claims by healthcare workers, hotel workers, waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national healthcare, hotel and restaurant chains including Kindred Healthcare, Professional Healthcare at Home, NP Plus, Hilton, W, Marriott, Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Best Western, Chipotle, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying employees as managers or assistant managers, forcing employees to work off the clock at business, failing to share all tips, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim these wage theft practices call us at (630) 333-0333 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Schaumburg and Des Plaines. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Aurora and Plano overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
Lubin Austermuehle is based in Chicago and Oak Brook, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (630) 333-0333 or through our online form.