Federal and state laws exist to protect employees and prevent employers from taking advantage of their workers, but companies often look for ways around these laws. According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit, CVS allegedly tried to get around California Labor Law by implementing a weekly workweek.
The lawsuit alleges that hundreds of pharmacists working for CVS were made to work seven days in a row without receiving overtime compensation for the seventh day. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) all hourly workers are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. If they work more eight hours on their seventh consecutive day of work, they are entitled to double their normal rate of pay.
In addition to the federal law, California Labor Law specifically requires employers to pay pharmacists overtime for all time worked on their seventh consecutive day of work. CVS, on the other hand, insists that it did nothing wrong because it has a Sunday to Saturday workweek and because the pharmacists were given one day off for each seven-day period. The court found this argument to be insufficient, as changing the workweek gives CVS an opportunity to circumvent the law.
According to the Overtime Pay Laws Resource Center, “CVS could schedule pharmacists for seven or more days in a row, like Wednesday through Tuesday, and avoid the overtime requirement because the pharmacists only worked four days in the first week and three days in the second.” The court agreed with this assessment and emphasized the fact that the law refers to the number of consecutive days worked, regardless of the way the workweeks break down.
Despite refusing to admit to any wrongdoing, CVS recently agreed to settle the lawsuit for $2.8 million. That money will go to compensate 627 pharmacists who worked for the company in Southern California and worked seven days in a row without receiving overtime compensation. The court recently approved the settlement, which means the class members should start seeing checks in the mail soon.
The FLSA does provide exemptions for certain employees who do not have to be paid the premium overtime rate, no matter how many hours they work, but it is very specific about the requirements for those exemptions. According to the Act, employees must earn a salary of at least $640 per week and fit into either the administrative, executive, or professional category. In order to fit into the administrative category, the employee must perform primarily office work and provide administrative assistance directly to an executive. An executive must spend more than half her time managing other employees and have significant say in the hiring and firing of the employees that work under her. The professional category covers workers who need a particular set of skills or level of education to perform their job, such as doctors, lawyers, artists, and musicians.
Any employee who does not qualify for one of these categories is entitled to one and one-half times her normal hourly rate for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week.
The Illinois class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against hospitals, senior and assisted living centers and large doctor and dental practices and chains for 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 this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online by filling in the form at the side of this blog.
The Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience fighting for wage earner’s rights. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and prosecute claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Palos Hts. and Orland Park. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, McHenry Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Waukegan and Evanston 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.