The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exists to protect workers from employers who might try to take advantage of them. It regulates things like minimum wage and overtime to try to make sure that employees are properly compensated for all the time they spend performing work for their employer.
In addition to the FLSA, states have their own laws that govern the employees working within the state. This means any employer conducting business in the United States has to be sure to abide by all the relevant state laws, as well as the federal laws. Nevada, for example, requires employers to pay their workers a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour (higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour).
There are certain exceptions to the minimum wage requirements though. For example, under the FLSA, tipped employees, such as waiters and bartenders, can be paid as little as $2.13 per hour. This holds true only so long as the tips made by the employees, combined with their wages, add up to at least the minimum hourly wage.
Nevada also has an exception to its minimum wage law. If an employer provides comprehensive health insurance that costs no more than 10 percent of the employee’s total taxable income, then employees can be paid between $7.50 and $7.65 per hour. In order to qualify for the lower minimum wage, the health insurance benefits must pay for health care costs that employees can deduct from their federal income tax returns.
According to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit against Wendy’s, the fast food restaurant chain in Las Vegas allegedly paid employees the lower minimum wage without providing the requisite low-cost health insurance. The lawsuit was filed by Latonya T. and three other employees of Wendy’s of Las Vegas.
One of the employees, David H., said he was allegedly offered the company health insurance plan through Aetna Inc., but that his manager discouraged him from accepting the benefits, saying they that were ‘expensive’ and the manager ‘wouldn’t recommend it.’ Despite the fact he did not receive the health insurance benefits through the company, David alleges he was only paid $7.55 per hour.
Even if the employees had accepted the health insurance plan Wendy’s was offering, the lawsuit alleges the plan did not meet the qualifications for the lower minimum wage. The health insurance premiums were allegedly much higher than the maximum threshold provided by the state, and did not cover deductible health care costs.
It is an unfortunate fact that employers often try to cut costs in order to make the biggest profit they can. Employees (particularly hourly employees who work at the bottom of the corporate ladder) are often taken advantage of in the employer’s quest for more money. However, when the tactics used to cut costs are not legal, employees can recover their lost wages in a court of law and ask the court to file an injunction against the company participating in such illegal behavior in the future. Wendy’s denies all of the claims in this case and contends it did nothing wrong.
The Chicago class action lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by waiters and bus boys and other restaurant and hotel workers against national restaurant chains including 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 (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center 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 Bollingbrook and Joliet. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Schamburg and Orland Park 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 mis-classify 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.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.