Articles Posted in Wage and Hour Law

Wage and hour lawsuits in which plaintiffs allege they have been misclassified as independent contractors have become increasingly common in recent years.

The entrepreneurial spirit continues to thrive in those who like the idea of being their own boss, but there’s no advantage when you have someone else as your boss, without any of the benefits that employee status entails. Continue reading ›

Many employers assume a worker who gets paid a salary is not entitled to the premium overtime compensation rate, but this is not the case.

Although earning an annual salary of at least $23,600 is one of the requirements for overtime exemption, an employee must also fit into one of three categories in order to qualify for the exemption. Only administrative, executive, and professional employees can legally be denied overtime compensation. Continue reading ›

Misclassifying workers as exempt from overtime is one of the most common ways employers avoid paying overtime compensation.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines overtime as all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The FLSA requires employers to pay all hourly workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime worked. There are exceptions to this rule, but the law is very specific about the types of employees that can qualify for the exemption. Continue reading ›

Many employees suffer low wages or work overtime without compensation because they are afraid their employers will lash out against them if they speak up, but some wage and hour violations do have happy endings.

Li Xiu Z. worked as a cook at Yank Sing, a dim sum restaurant in San Francisco. She was paid San Francisco’s minimum wage ($12.25 per hour) for eight hours a day, but she allegedly worked 11-12 hours most days.

Although she does not speak English, Li had more knowledge of and experience with wage and hour violations than many of her English-speaking counterparts. She had had a similar experience working for a previous employer and had won back pay to make up for the earned wages she had not received.

Li met with other employees of Yank Sing and they decided to issue a formal complaint against the restaurant. Continue reading ›

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that provides various protections for workers in the United States who would otherwise be vulnerable to exploitation by their employers. In order to accomplish this, the FLSA regulates things like minimum wage and overtime, but not everyone is entitled to these protections.

Under the FLSA, independent contractors (those who are self-employed) are exempt from many of these protections. This is because the law assumes independent contractors have greater leverage when negotiating how and when they get paid.

Because they are largely unprotected, the FLSA provides specific requirements workers must fulfill in order to be considered independent contractors. These include the ability to make their own hours, control the environment they work in and decide what they wear to work. Continue reading ›

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was careful to provide a definition of “work” in order to make sure companies did not take advantage of their employees by forcing them to perform work without fair compensation. Unfortunately, the definition is still sufficiently vague as to leave some matters in question.

One of those matters is the time it takes to put on (don) and take off (doff) any uniforms or safety equipment employees are required to wear while working. Most companies don’t consider donning and doffing special clothing or equipment to be work, so they don’t pay their employee for that time. The workers, on the other hand, argue that as long as their employers require them to don and doff uniforms or safety equipment before and after their shifts, it cannot be considered part of the employees’ personal time. Continue reading ›

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides all sorts of rules and regulations to make sure workers are not mistreated by their employers. Two of the most well-known regulations involve overtime and minimum wage.

The FLSA defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. It requires employers to pay all their hourly workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime worked. Continue reading ›

Almost every little boy dreams of growing up to become a professional athlete of some sort. They are tempted by promises of fame, glory, and multi-million dollar contracts, but the reality for most athletes isn’t so sweet.

Although certain baseball players for the Major League Baseball (MLB) manage to make a very good living, those playing in the minor leagues allege they are getting paid less than minimum wage. Continue reading ›

The task of defining “work” may seem pretty straightforward, but it’s not always as easy as most people think. As with just about everything in life, there are two sides to every story.

From the employee’s perspective, work consists of anything required by the employer. This frequently includes any time the employee is required to remain on the employer’s premises, regardless of whether or not she is actively working at the moment.

From the employer’s perspective, work is defined as any task performed by the employee that directly benefits the employer, but even this is not always so easy to define in a way that all parties can agree on. Continue reading ›

Hiring independent contractors, rather than employees, can be an effective way for companies to save some money. In exchange, independent contractors have more freedom than employees. They get to make their own hours and decide where they work.

The down side is, unlike employees, independent contractors are responsible for covering all of their own business expenses, insurance, and they have no job stability. Some workers consider this a fair trade in exchange for the extra freedom that comes with freelancing, while others prefer the stability that comes with having a steady paycheck.

Because independent contractors bear a heavier burden than employees, state and federal labor laws are strict when defining the parameters of an independent contractor. She must be a worker who is truly free in her work environment. Continue reading ›

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