The Wall Street Journal Reports: “A Boom in ‘Overtime’ Lawsuits? Blame Technology”


A Boom in ‘Overtime’ Lawsuits? Blame Technology

The Wall Street Journal reports:

It’s something the world is growing accustomed to, for better or worse: the ever-shrinking divide between work and leisure time. Ubiquitous Internet-access, Blackberrys, cell phones — all sort of technological advances — make it easier to take a “work from home” day when a child is sick. At the same time, the advances give employers the ability to make 24/7 demands, and expect 24/7 responses.

With the blurring of “on” and “off the clock,” lawsuits have arisen. Two recent suits, the WSJ reports on Monday, raise the following question: should hourly workers be paid for time spent responding to work calls or emails while off the clock?

Last month, three current and former employees sued T-Mobile USA Inc., claiming they were required to use company-issued smart phones to respond to work messages after hours without pay. In a March suit, a former CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. maintenance worker seeks pay for time spent after hours receiving and responding to messages on a work-issued cellphone.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act says employees must be paid for work performed off the clock, even if the work was voluntary. When the law was passed in 1938, “work” was easy to define for hourly employees. As the workplace changed, so did the rules for when workers should be paid.

The Chicago wage claim attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle represent employees from all industries, jobs and backgrounds in claims for unpaid overtime pay. Federal law makes overtime a right — not a privilege that can be denied in order to save money for the employer. Nonetheless, too many employers tighten their belts by essentially stealing labor from their employees, by shaving hours off timecards, pressuring employees to work off the clock or incorrectly classifying them as exempt from overtime. Our Wheaton, Ill. employee rights attorneys handle both individual and class-action lawsuits from workers who are ready to stand up for their rights and collect hundreds or thousands of dollars in unpaid wages. Based in Chicago and its suburbs, we represent or have represented clients throughout Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan and all over the United States.

If you believe your labor has been stolen by an employer that consistently refused to pay overtime, the Chicago based attorneys at Lubin Austermuehle can help. To set up a free consultation with one of our Naperville, Wheaton, Waukegan or Chicago unpaid overtime attorneys, call us toll-free at 630-333-0333 or send us an email.

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