While many employees working in the United States work in shifts, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employees to be paid by the shift. Rather, it requires them to be paid by the hour for all of the time that they work. This means that if an employee starts working before her scheduled shift time, or continues working after her shift ends, she must be paid for all of that time.
The FLSA does not require employers to provide their workers with breaks, but some states have laws that include breaks. California law, for example, states that all hourly employees must be provided with one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours that they spend working. For every five hours worked, the employees must be provided with an unpaid meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day that an employee does not get to take one of these breaks, the law mandates that the employee must be paid one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day. According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Universal Alloy Corp., the manufacturer failed to provide its California employees with all of the requisite breaks.
Under the FLSA, employers must maintain accurate records of all of the time worked, wages earned, and paid to all of their employees. The lawsuit also alleges that Universal Alloy failed to maintain these records and paid employees only for the time that they were scheduled to work, rather than the time that was actually spent working, resulting in unpaid straight time and overtime. In some courts, failure to maintain accurate records is sufficient to prove that the defendant knowingly and intentionally violated the FLSA. Such proof can mean a much higher fine from the court if the plaintiffs are successful in the lawsuit.
The FLSA also requires that all hourly employees working within the United States are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for each hour that they work in excess of eight hours a day or forty hours a week. It is important to note the Act’s definition of “regular pay”. For example, if an employee is awarded a bonus, that bonus must be included in the employee’s hourly rate when calculating their overtime compensation. According to the class action lawsuit, Universal Alloy failed to do this when it calculated its employees’ overtime rats. The result was that employees allegedly did not receive the full overtime compensation that was due to them.
The lawsuit is seeking certification for two classes of plaintiffs: one that includes all current and former employees who worked for Universal Alloy in the state of California; and another class for all of the current and former employees of the company across the nation.
The two parties have reached a preliminary agreement to settle the case for $4.75 million, although Universal Alloy refuses to admit to having done anything wrong. Instead, the company insists that they agreed to settle the lawsuit because it was disrupting their business and operations.
The Chicago class action and employment law lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by large corporations such as Wal-Mart, Sears and K-Mart Logistics for misclassifying employees as managers or assistant managers, failing to pay for meal breaks, 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 Elgin and Berwyn. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Waukegan and North Chicago 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.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, 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 (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.