In addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which governs all employees working in the United States, each state has their own labor laws to govern employees working within the state. All employers conducting business in the United States need to be sure to adhere to all relevant state and federal labor laws.
The FLSA regulates things like minimum wage and overtime. Under the Act, all hourly employees who work more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all overtime worked. The Act does provide exceptions to this rule, but it is very specific about the types of employees that can qualify for this exemption.
Under the FLSA, there are three categories of employees that can qualify for overtime exemption: administrative; executive; and professional. In order to qualify for the administrative category, an employee must perform primarily office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. For the executive category, an employee must spend the majority of her time managing other employees and have significant say in the disciplining, hiring, and firing of those employees. The professional category consists of workers who require a certain level of education or skill set in order to perform their jobs, such as doctors, lawyers, artists, and musicians.
It is an unfortunate truth that employers sometimes take advantage of the overtime exemption by misclassifying their employees as exempt from overtime, even if they don’t qualify for the exemption. Many employees don’t speak out against this type of abuse, either because they are unaware of the law, or because they are afraid of losing their jobs.
Indica Heredia alleges that was not afraid to speak out against her employer when she allegedly knew she was allegedly being taken advantage of in violation of both federal and California state labor laws. Heredia worked as a manufacturing engineer for InterMountain Management. The company is a manager and operator of multiple hotels, including Residence Inn, Courtyard Inn, and TownePlace Suites.
According to the class action lawsuit Heredia filed, she was allegedly misclassified as exempt from overtime in her position as a manufacturing engineer. Instead of performing the responsibilities laid out by the FLSA for exempt employees, Heredia was responsible for routine system testing on many of InterMountain’s products.
In addition to being denied overtime compensation when she worked more than forty hours a week, Heredia also alleges that she was frequently denied meal and rest breaks. Under California labor law, all hourly employees are entitled to one paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours that they spend working. For every five hours worked, the employee is entitled to an unpaid meal break lasting at least thirty minutes. For every day that the employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, the law requires the employer to pay the worker for one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages earned that day.
According to the lawsuit, InterMountain allegedly did not pay Heredia for all of the straight time that she worked, in addition to denying her overtime. In some instances, she alleges she was forced to cut her lunch break short, or miss it altogether, and was never properly compensated for that loss.
One of the ways that labor laws try to prevent employers from taking advantage of their workers is by requiring employers to provide workers with records of all hours worked, all wages paid, and all deductions made from the workers’ pay, such as taxes and health insurance. According to the wage and hour lawsuit, when Heredia requested to see her personnel records, InterMountain allegedly refused to provide them, which is in direct violation of both the FLSA and California labor law.
Since InterMountain is allegedly denying Heredia access to her own personnel records, it is impossible for her to know exactly how many hours she worked without pay. That makes it difficult to name a claim for the lawsuit, but the fine for refusing a worker her personnel record is $750. If InterMountain refused to show other employees their personnel records, they could be charged that fine for each violation.
Heredia filed the lawsuit on behalf of herself and all other similarly situated manufacturing engineers who were denied their proper overtime compensation while they worked for InterMountain. They class is expected to include about 700 employees of the hotel management company. Heredia denies all of the claims as says they are not true.
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 misclassifying 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 Skokie and Niles. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Des Plaines, and Joliet 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.