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.
In California, employers are required to provide all of their hourly workers with an unpaid meal break lasting at least half an hour for every five hours worked. For every four hours worked, the law mandates a paid rest break of at least ten minutes. For every day that an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, the employer is required to pay the worker one hour’s worth of her normal wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.
The lawsuit alleges that, while the lead plaintiffs usually work 12-hour shifts, some workers were made to work as long as 24 hours at a time, without being allowed to take a break.
“You might get a chance to go to the bathroom,” said Rogers. “But getting fresh air or taking a break – it’s not happening. Not a lunch break, not a 15-minute break, nothing. … It’s been going on for quite some time.”
Making employees work whole days without any breaks is dangerous to the health of the workers, as well as the clients. Without the time to rest, the employee’s health deteriorates, leading to a reduction in the quality of the work they perform.
According to the lawsuit, whose claims Kindred denies, employees who were sent to private homes were paid a flat rate, which, when calculated against the number of hours they worked, allegedly resulted in the workers getting paid less than minimum wage. The lawsuit is seeking certification of a class that could include as many as 300 caregivers who work for Kindred Healthcare in private homes and elder care facilities throughout California.
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 Evanston and Cicero. 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 Berwyn 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.