Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), every employee is entitled to receive accurate itemized wage statements along with their paychecks. These wage statements need to specify: the employee’s hourly rate; the pay period; the number of hours the employee worked in that pay period; the total wages paid, and any deductions made to the employee’s wages (such as taxes, health insurance, etc.).
Employers are required to provide these wage statements so their workers can keep track of the hours they worked and the money they made. It also helps them estimate how much money they’ll make in future pay periods so they can plan their finances accordingly.
In addition to providing their workers with these records, employers are required to maintain their own accurate records of all hours worked, hourly rates, and wages paid for each employee. Any employer conducting business in California who fails to keep these records is subject to fines.
According to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit, United and Continental airlines allegedly provided its employees with itemized wage statements that contained claimed false information. The plaintiffs allege their pay stubs did not list the total hours they worked or contained inaccurate hourly wages. This allegedly resulted in the airlines paying their employees less than they had earned.
Although it’s entirely possible the airlines did not intentionally underpay their employees, it’s alleged that the inaccurate wage statements were a ploy to keep the airlines’ costs down.
Under the FLSA, any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week is considered overtime. The law requires employers to pay all hourly, nonexempt employees one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime worked. If the airlines didn’t want to pay the premium overtime rate, they may have decided to rework the numbers on the wage statements to better line up with their budget.
The lead plaintiffs of the proposed class action are Felicia Vidrio, who worked as a flight attendant for United, and Paul Bradley, who worked as a flight attendant for Continental. Despite working for different airlines, the two flight attendants are filing this wage and hour lawsuit together because Continental and United merged to form one company as of 2011.
The class action lawsuit also alleges the airlines violated the law by listing a post office box as their address on the wage statements, instead of a physical location.
The proposed wage and hour class would consist of all flight attendants who had worked for either Continental or United in California in the past year.
In the event a court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, California labor law allows employees to seek $50 in recovery penalties for each initial violation and $100 for each successive violation. The maximum amount of recovery fees an employee can claim is $4,000. In addition to the recovery penalties, the plaintiffs are seeking compensation for any wages that were lost as a result of the inaccuracies, and any applicable punitive damages.
Our Schaumburg and Chicago class action and unpaid overtime attorneys and unpaid overtime lawyers and attorneys 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.
Nationwide Consumer Rights is based in Chicago and Oakbrook Terrace. We represent 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.