The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that all employees working in the United States be paid at least $7.25 per hour for all straight time and one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all time that they spend working in excess of eight hours a day or forty hours a week. There are exceptions to this rule, though. An employee who earns at least $12 per hour and fulfills certain job requirements can qualify for exemption from overtime compensation. Although the law is clear in this regard, the courts are frequently full of employment lawsuits in which employees are misclassified as exempt from overtime compensation, despite not fitting the requirements as laid out in the FLSA. Despite the fact that not all workers are paid on an hourly basis, the mandates provided by the FLSA still apply to all American employees. For workers who are paid on commission, for example, the employer is required to divide the commission earned by the hours worked to determine the employee’s normal hourly rate. That can then be used to calculate the employee’s proper overtime compensation in the event that she works more than eight hours a day or forty hours in a week. According to a recent class action lawsuit against Time Warner Cable, Inc., the cable company allegedly failed to do this with its account executives who were paid on commission. Susan Peabody, who filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated employees for Time Warner, worked as an account executive and was paid based on commission for advertising sales. Peabody alleges that Time Warner violated California overtime laws by using sales agents’ later commissions to satisfy minimum wage requirements. Under California labor law, employers are required to pay their workers every pay period. Instead, Time Warner allegedly only paid its commissioned account executives once per month. In doing so, the company allegedly tried to pay a combined total for all pay periods in that month using the minimum wage standard. The class action alleges that this pay practice violates California law because it creates the potential for tampering with wage calculations. The practice also states that commissions had been earned, but not paid out. Peabody alleges that she was paid on commission in some pay periods, but not others. As a result, Time Warner allegedly failed to compensate her for the proper one and one-half times her normal hourly rate for the overtime that she worked. Time Warner argued that, in the 10 months that Peabody worked for them, she earned almost $75,000, which the company claims should more than compensate her for any overtime that she earned. Time Warner insists that it properly calculated Peabody’s earnings based on the broadcast month, which lasted four or five weeks. By calculating it this way, her commissions allegedly counted towards the pay period during which they were earned, rather than the period during which they were actually paid. Time Warner remains sure that Peabody had sufficient stability in her pay and that their system of monthly payments was legal, saying that it had been approved by the state’s Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. Time Warner had the case moved to federal court, which ruled in favor of the cable company. Peabody appealed the decision and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has now asked the California Supreme Court to review the case.
The Chicago class action and employment law lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims by large corporations such as Comcast 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 Evanston. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Albany Park and Arlington Hts. 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.