Articles Posted in Wage and Hour Law

There are different methods companies can use to pay their employees. Although many people are familiar with the hourly wage and salary options, some employees get paid piecemeal – or per job – regardless of how long it takes them to complete that job. Although it is not illegal to pay workers a piecemeal rate, employers who choose to do so must make sure they are still abiding by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Act states that all employees working in the United States are entitled to at least $7.25 per hour, with a lower minimum wage for tipped workers.

Regardless of how employees are paid, the FLSA requires employers to provide all workers with accurate itemized wage statements. By law, these statements must define a pay period and detail the hours worked or jobs performed by the employee in that pay period, how much she was paid, and how much was withheld for things like health insurance, taxes, etc. Providing these statements allows employees to make sure they are paid fair wages for the work they perform, and to keep a record of what they have been paid. Continue reading ›

Large corporations have developed a reputation for cutting costs by cheating their employees out of wages. Everything from forcing employees to work off the clock to misclassifying them as exempt from overtime has become common practice in corporate America.

Despite the fact these practices are against the law, companies often get away with treating their employees this way because many employees simply don’t know their rights under the law. Others don’t want to get in trouble with their employer. This is why wage and hour lawsuits are often filed by former employees, despite the fact the law prohibits retaliation from employers.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers conducting business in the United States to pay all their hourly workers no less than $7.25 per hour. It also mandates that employees be paid one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime. Overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week.

In addition to the FLSA, each state has their own laws regulating things like minimum wage, overtime, and break time. In California, the minimum wage is set at $9.00 per hour, and employers are required to provide hourly workers with breaks throughout the day. Continue reading ›

Employers are responsible for any and all business expenses. In the event a worker has to cover expenses for the employer, the employer is required to properly reimburse the worker in a timely manner. But problems can arise in situations where it’s difficult to determine the exact amount of the expense incurred by the employee.

For example, drivers who use their own vehicles when performing deliveries for their employer incur expenses for gas, insurance, and maintenance for wear and tear on their vehicle, but it’s not always easy or possible to determine the exact amount of expenses incurred for each trip.

Hishmeh Enterprises Inc., a franchise owner of 70 different Domino’s locations in California, allegedly failed to properly compensate its delivery drivers by reimbursing them only $1 per delivery. If a delivery was between 15 and 20 miles away, the drivers were reimbursed $2. Continue reading ›

Hiring part-time employees can be a great way for businesses to fill in the gaps in their employee schedule while saving money. It can also be beneficial for employees looking for flexible hours. On the other hand, part-time employees are often left without the benefits of full-time employees, including health insurance and vacation time. Labor law generally requires an employee to work at least 20 hours per week before she is entitled to access to her employer’s health insurance or paid vacation time.

Even if an employee is taken on to work full time, the picture is not always rosy. Employees who are paid at least a salary of $23,600 per year and meet certain qualifications can legally be exempted from overtime compensation, even if they work more than forty hours a week.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees can be exempt from overtime if they fit into one of three categories: administrative, executive, and professional. For the administrative category, an employee must perform primarily office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. The executive category includes managers and all employees who spend more than half their time supervising other employees. The professional category is made up of workers whose jobs require a specific set of skills or level of education, including doctors, lawyers, and performers. Continue reading ›

Large retail stores, such as Target and Walgreens, have faced a number of public lawsuits from their employees. One of the most recent lawsuits alleges Target misclassified some of its employees as exempt from overtime, and as a result, failed to pay those employees the proper overtime compensation when they worked more than forty hours a week. Target denies these claims and asserts it complied with the law.

Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay all their workers no less than $7.25 per hour. For all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week, employers are required to pay the proper overtime rate of one and one-half times the employee’s normal hourly wage. The FLSA does list some exceptions to this rule, but it is very specific about the types of employees that can qualify for exempt status.

The FLSA describes three main types of employees that are not entitled to overtime. An employee who is paid a salary of at least $23,600 and works in either an administrative, executive, or professional capacity is not entitled to overtime compensation. However, rather than simply classifying employees as fitting into one of these categories, the FLSA has specific requirements for each category. Continue reading ›

Every state is different. In addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which protects employees working throughout the country, each state has their own labor laws that cover employees working within the state. Employers conducting business in the United States need to be sure to abide by both state and federal labor laws. It can be confusing, but employers who allegedly fail to do so can find themselves facing a lawsuit, such as the one SoHo House West Hollywood LLC recently settled.

According to the wage and hour class action lawsuit, the Los Angeles location of the chain of luxury clubs allegedly failed to properly compensate its employees for overtime and missed breaks. Under the FLSA, all hourly non-exempt employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime worked. The FLSA defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week.

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When an employee starts with a company, the employment agreement usually includes a certain number of paid sick and vacation days, in addition to salary and health care benefits. That constitutes a promise from the employer to provide that salary and those benefits to the employee. If the employee does not use all of her sick days or vacation days, she is still entitled to be compensated for them.

A recent class action wage and hour lawsuit filed against Coca-Cola in California, alleges that the soft drink company had a “use it or lose it” vacation policy, in which employees were not paid for any vacation time they did not take. According to the recent lawsuit, such practices are illegal under California labor law. Coca-Cola argues it has already revised its vacation policy and paid out all earned, unused vacation time dating back to 2008.

The lawsuit further alleges that Coca-Cola refused to pay employees for time spent driving between job sites during the day, including driving to the first job site of the day and driving home from the last job site of the day. According to the lawsuit, employees were driving Coca-Cola vans during these commutes. Continue reading ›

Freehauf v. TCB Design/Build, LLC, 2014 IL App (1st) 132928-U

“Claim for Failure to Pay Bonus Did Not Fall Within Illinois Wage Payment Act”

On September 5, 2014, the Illinois Appellate Court (1st District) affirmed the circuit court’s finding that the individual defendant, Mark Vandenberg, had not violated the Illinois Wage Payment and Collection Act.

The Plaintiff, Gregory Freehauf, had been employed by TCB Design/Build, LLC, whose sole manager was Vandenberg. Freehauf’s complaint alleged that on April 11, 2006, he was offered a promotion to become president of TCB, which he accepted. The complaint further alleged that in a letter dated August 24, 2006, TCB guaranteed him a year-end bonus of no less than $200,000.00.

Freehauf left TCB in June 2008 and claimed that TCB owed him $232,297.50 in unpaid bonus earnings for 2006, 2007, and a pro-rata portion of 2008. In 2010, Freehauf filed a complaint against TCB and Vandenberg for breach of contract and violation of the Wage Act for allegedly failing to fully compensate him for his bonus earnings. Continue reading ›

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. Continue reading ›

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to all employees working in the United States and regulates things like minimum wage and overtime. For example, under the federal law, all hourly employees must be paid at least $7.25 per hour. Any time that an employee works more than eight hours in a day or forty hours a week, the employer is required to compensate the employee the proper overtime compensation of one and one-half times her normal hourly rate for all overtime worked.

In addition to the FLSA, every state has their own laws to protect employees working within that state. Large corporations who do business in multiple states need to be sure that they are acting in accordance with all of the relevant labor laws in order to avoid a lawsuit.

Recently, Kindred Healthcare (which is based in Kentucky) and its subsidiaries, Professional Healthcare at Home and NP Plus, have been hit with a class action wage and hour lawsuit brought by two employees of the company working in California. The lead plaintiffs, Emma Hawkins and Ginger Rogers, are both caregivers who provide non-medical care to the elderly, ill, and disabled on behalf of Kindred Healthcare.

Kindred contracts out workers like Hawkins and Rogers to assisted living and rehabilitation facilities. According to the lawsuit, these caregivers are made to work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week, without any of the meal and rest breaks that they are entitled to under California labor law. Continue reading ›

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