We’ve come a long way since the first industrialists forced their workers to work 12 to 16 hour days, six days a week, with little rest and dangerous working conditions. The law doesn’t forbid employees from working long hours, but it does require companies to properly compensate workers who sacrifice their evenings and weekends to spend more time working.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), a standard workweek is defined as eight hours a day for five days, or forty hours a week. Any time spent working after a standard workweek is overtime. The Act requires all companies conducting business in the United States to pay all their employees who work overtime one and one-half times the employee’s normal hourly rate for all overtime worked.
In addition to the FLSA, each state has their own labor laws to protect employees within the state. Most of them line up with the FLSA, and when a state law is more lenient than the federal law, the federal law takes precedence. But there are some states that have stricter laws than the FLSA, in which case the state law takes precedence. Cities also have their own labor laws, which can be different from both state and federal laws.
If an hourly or non-management employee works more than twelve hours a day in some parts of the country, the employee is entitled to double her normal hourly rate for all time spent working after twelve hours that day. Some areas also require employees to be paid double time for all time spent working on the seventh consecutive day of work.
Some employers think they can take advantage of their workers because, in the employer/employee relationship, it’s the employers that have most of the power. But workers can come together and form a class action, in which they combine all their claims for one complaint, or a few similar complaints, into one large lawsuit. These class action lawsuits provide employees with the leverage they need to effectively fight a legal battle with their employers, who are usually large corporations.
Halliburton Energy Services Inc., an oil and gas company, is currently facing such a lawsuit from a class of its current and former employees. The class of plaintiffs allege the company required them to work overtime without properly compensating them for that extra time.
Rather than continue to fight the legal battle in court, Halliburton has agreed to settle the wage and hour class action lawsuit for $18.25 million. The settlement covers all employees who worked for Halliburton in the U.S. as a DD, MWD, or LWD at the associate level or higher up to Level II, from March 1, 2013 to April 17, 2015.
Once both parties have agreed on the terms of a settlement, a court judge needs to grant preliminary and then final approval of the settlement in order to make sure it’s fair to both parties. The current settlement between Halliburton and the class of plaintiffs has received preliminary approval and is waiting only for final approval from the court.
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 Markham and South Chicago Heights. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our South Holland and Crete 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.