As an employee, you will be at a disadvantage whenever your employer mistreats you because they know that if you assert your rights you might lose your job. There are thousands of examples of wage and hour disputes out there. State and federal hour and wage laws were enacted for this precise reason: to protect you from employment abuse. The FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) is well known today as the main mechanism for solving wage and hour disputes.
Under both state and FLSA laws, therefore, your employer must pay you a minimum wage of $7.25 for every hour worked. In some states, this amount is higher. By failing to pay this wage and any and all overtime, you can entangle yourself in a wage and hour dispute with your employee or employee’s.
In most cases, your employer must also pay you for travel time and all time you spend on the job, even if you are not actively working.
Where Wage and Hour Laws Apply
To find out if you need to sue your employer, consider whether:
- You are forced to work around the clock without overtime wages and/or pay.
- You have been denied overtime pay simply because you were misclassified as a manager.
- Your employer makes you skip rest and/or meal breaks.
- Your earnings are less than the set minimum wage for your state.
- Management takes any share of the tips you earn.
The above are the most common examples of hour and wage violations. They are illegal under state and federal law. As such, you might find that you are entitled to penalties and back pay running into the thousands of dollars.
Wage and Hour Laws
For most workers, the law requires you get paid a minimum wage (this will vary based on where you live and work) plus overtime after working 8 hours on any given day or after a total of 40 work hours in any given work week. The only exceptions include employees falling under federal law, those working on commission, those who earn tips and those who have jobs that are specifically exempt from overtime earnings.
There are many instances that might get an employer entangled in wage and hour disputes with their employees:
Distribution of Tips
Distributing tips illegally might lead to an employer-employee disagreement. According to the DOL (Department of Labor), tips are meant for direct service employees. If an employer, therefore, decides to pool the tips and share them with employees who are not within this scope (including non-service employees, managers and the employer themselves).
Whenever employers exercise excessive control over their workers, it is likely that the worker will be found to be an employee and not an independent contractor. This is regardless of whether or not the parties had a written and signed agreement between them. If an audit is triggered or a wage claim is leveled against the employer, they may discover that their independent contractors are actually employees. They might also learn that they are liable to part with thousands of dollars in minimum wage, back payroll taxes and/or overtime pay.
Other employers might pay a salary thinking that this exempt the employee from these type of issues. Apart from the salary basis, every exempt employee is work activities must satisfy the duties test outline within the employment act, regardless of whether or not the two parties had a written agreement in place.
Some employers find themselves in wage and hour disputes because they knowingly or otherwise engaged in practices resulting in unpaid time. For instance, if an employer allows their workers to clock in earlier than the shift starts but only pays for scheduled hours, this might prove problematic in the future.
Rest and Meal Breaks
All employees are entitled to take a rest break of 10 minutes after every 4 hour period at work. If the employee continues working without being allowed such breaks, they must be paid their full pay for the 8 hours they worked plus the additional paid breaks they failed to take.
Contact The Brown Firm PLLC Today!
In case you find yourself entangled in wage and hour disputes, whether you are an employee or an employer, you might want to talk to a Lawyer today. Find a professional who will evaluate the claims and help resolve the dispute easily and seamlessly to ensure proper standards at your place of employment. Please call or contact The Brown Firm PLLC online for more information.