Articles Posted in Wage and Hour Law

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Class action and collective action lawsuits are both important tools for plaintiffs with common complaints against the same defendant. Both types of lawsuits allow plaintiffs to do essentially the same thing in terms of the rights they can win for plaintiffs, but with one distinct difference.

In class actions, all the potential plaintiffs that can be identified are automatically included in the class unless they opt out. By contrast, collective actions require potential class members to submit a valid claim in order for them to be included in the lawsuit. Each type of lawsuit has its own procedural rules but, according to the Eleventh Circuit Court, the filing of one type of lawsuit does not invalidate a lawsuit of the other kind, even if both were filed by the same plaintiffs.

Four sheriff’s deputies in Lee County, Florida filed a collective action against their sheriff, Michael Scott, for allegedly requiring them to work overtime without properly compensating them for the extra hours they worked. The collective action alleges Scott violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by refusing to pay the proper overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate when they worked more than 40 hours a week. Continue reading

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We live in a world in which everyone constantly feels like they don’t have enough time, which is why most of us hate to feel like anyone is wasting our time. That feeling only gets worse when we don’t have any control over it, such as when our employer keeps us waiting.

According to a recent wage and hour lawsuit filed against Labor Ready, a temp agency, the company allegedly kept its temporary workers waiting to receive assignments without paying them for the time they spent waiting. The company also allegedly refused to pay them for the time they spent traveling to their assignments and also allegedly charged them a fee to cash their paychecks.

Most workers don’t think of the time they spend traveling to and from work as time they should be paid for, but there are certain instances in which that time is compensable. For those who work at the same location every day and simply commute between home and work, no payment for that time is required. On the other hand, some workers who are required to travel between different work sites in the course of a day should be paid for the time they spend traveling between sites.

The same goes for those who need to check in at one location before traveling to another site to perform their actual tasks for the day. This can sometimes be the case for those working for temp agencies when they’re technically employed by the temp agency, but the work they’re actually doing is for the agency’s client, usually at a separate location. Continue reading

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With so many labor laws at the federal, state, and city levels, it’s no wonder employers and employees alike sometimes get confused as to which laws apply to them, and in the event of conflicting regulations, which ones take priority.

The federal Department of Labor (DOL) exists to help enforce labor laws, conduct investigations into employers suspected of violating labor laws, and help educate employers on how to implement and maintain proper labor practices. Recently, the DOL reached an agreement with Subway in which the department agreed to help the giant subway chain develop training materials in order to instruct its franchisees on how to abide by federal labor laws.

According to the agreement, labor officials will attend meetings of Subway’s owners, as well as the company’s yearly convention. The parties have also agreed to share data regarding completed investigations into the employment practices of franchisees so both Subway and the DOL can analyze the data and come up with new ways to promote compliance with federal labor laws among all of Subway’s franchisees.

Under the terms of the agreement, Subway will also be able to decide whether its franchises should have their status stripped as a result of its record of violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Continue reading

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In addition to defining things like overtime and the minimum wage, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to maintain several other labor practices in order to make sure they are not taking advantage of their workers. For example, the FLSA requires employers to provide all their workers with detailed wage statements that list the pay period, the number of hours worked by the employee, the amount of wages earned, wages withheld, and wages paid. Employers are required to maintain records of all this information for at least seven years with the possibility of hefty fines from a court or a government body, such as the Department of Labor, if they fail to do so.

In addition to the FLSA, each state has its own laws protecting the employees that work within its boundaries. California not only has a higher minimum wage than the federal limit, but also requires employers to provide all their non-exempt hourly workers with regular meal and rest breaks throughout the day: one paid, uninterrupted rest break after every four hours of work and one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break for every five hours of work. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, they are entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, tips, bonuses, etc. earned that day.

California labor law also requires employers to provide their workers with all the wages they’ve earned within a timely manner (72 hours) after their termination of employment. If an employee provides at least 72 hours notice prior to the termination of their employment, then all their wages are due upon termination. Continue reading

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The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) allows employers to pay their workers in a variety of ways, including an hourly wage, an annual salary, by the day, by the job, or on commission. But no matter how employees are paid, the FLSA requires the amount to be no less than the federal minimum wage, which is currently set at $7.25 per hour.

In addition to the minimum wage, the FLSA also defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. For all overtime worked, employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal rate of pay, regardless of the method of their payment. The FLSA does allow for certain types of employees to be held exempt from the overtime requirement, but it is very specific about the qualifications employees need to meet in order to be legally considered overtime exempt.

According to a recent collective action wage and hour lawsuit against Citizens Bank, the financial company allegedly deducted overtime wages from its mortgage loan officers. U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Schwab recently certified the collective action, which means all the eligible employees who worked at Citizens Bank as mortgage loan officers will have the opportunity to opt into the collective action and submit their claims for relief. Those claims will then be used to determine how much the plaintiffs receive if the lawsuit is settled or awarded to the plaintiffs. Continue reading

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Uber has agreed to settle two class-action lawsuits brought by its drivers. One was started in Massachusetts, the other in California, where drivers sued to be considered employees eligible for benefits and not just independent contractors. Under the settlement, they do remain contractors, but Uber will pay up to $100 million to be shared by as many as 385,000 drivers.

Our Maywood, Joliet and Berwyn wage and hour 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. We represent call center workers who are forced to work overtime but are not paid time and half wages.

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Like everything else, automated timekeeping systems have their advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, they make timekeeping and bookkeeping much easier and less labor intensive, especially for large corporations with many employees. On the other hand, employers who use automated timekeeping systems need to make sure they have a system in place to make adjustments whenever an employee works longer hours than they were initially scheduled for.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Most employees working in the United States are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime worked. There are exceptions to the overtime requirement, but the FLSA is very specific about the types of workers that can be considered exempt from overtime.

According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Zillow Inc., the online real estate company allegedly failed to properly compensate its inside sales consultants for the overtime they worked. The class action lawsuit alleges Zillow used an automated timekeeping system and failed to make adjustments to the timekeeping records when employees worked through their breaks or after their scheduled shift had ended. Continue reading

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When many people think of unpaid internships they might think of fetching coffee or sorting mail. They rarely think of unpaid interns as performing some of the primary jobs of the industry.

Internships have long been a way for new professionals to gain experience and get a foot in the door in a particular industry. Many people are willing to take unpaid internships in the hope it will mean greater opportunity for them later in their career.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does allow companies to use unpaid interns, but only if the internship is considered a valuable learning opportunity for the intern. That means it must be comparable to taking a class on a related subject, and the company cannot significant benefit from the work the unpaid interns performed. Continue reading

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Large companies sometimes try to look for ways of getting around the laws that protect their employees by requiring their workers to sign contracts in which they agree to forfeit certain rights guaranteed them by law.

Flowers Foods, Inc. is one of the leading producers and marketers of packaged bakery foods in the U.S. Until recently, the company maintained a distribution model in which its distributors were classified as independent contractors.

Independent contractors are self-employed workers who run their own businesses. They are not subject to any of the protections under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), including minimum wage and overtime regulations. Because the FLSA does not extend its protections to independent contractors, it is very specific about the requirements workers must meet in order to be considered independent contractors. Continue reading

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Kroger Co. is the largest operator of traditional supermarkets in the United States. It employs more than 422,000 workers and operates about 2,775 stores in 35 states across the country, plus the District of Columbia. The more employees a company manages the more careful it has to be to make sure it’s abiding by all the relevant labor laws.

In the United States the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protects all employees working throughout the country. It provides a federal minimum wage, defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week, and requires a premium overtime compensation of one and one-half times the employee’s normal hourly rate for all overtime worked. The FLSA does allow for certain exceptions to the overtime law, but it is very specific about the types of workers that can qualify for the overtime exemption.

Under the FLSA, an employee can be considered exempt from overtime if she fits into either the administrative, executive, or professional category. Rather than simply allowing employers to label their workers as they see fit, the FLSA provides specific qualifications employees must meet in order to be legally considered exempt from overtime. Continue reading