In addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), each state has their own laws to govern the employers and employees working within the state. Both state and federal labor law require employees to be paid a minimum wage, and all hourly employees to be paid overtime when they work more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The proper overtime compensation is one and one-half times the employee’s normal hourly wage.
Some states (such as California and Oregon) also require employers to provide their workers with meal and rest breaks throughout the day. Under state law, for every half day an employee spends working, she is entitled to a paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every full day worked, the employee is entitled to an unpaid meal break of at least thirty minutes. In Oregon, the law allows employers to shorten the meal break to no less than twenty minutes if they can show such a short meal break is an industry standard. They can also allow employees to eat while working, but the employees must be paid for that time.
Despite the existence of these laws, many employers still look for ways around paying employees for all the time they spend working. According to a recent wage and hour lawsuit against Providence Health & Services Oregon, the Medical Center company allegedly engaged in many illegal practices in order to get out of paying employees all the wages they earned.
The plaintiff, Brandon W., alleges Providence had a practice of rounding the time an employee clocked in at the beginning of a shift and clocked out at the end of a shift. Although this allegedly amounts to only minutes a day, it can add up to significant unpaid work performed over time. Brandon also alleges he was regularly required to perform work off the clock, and to work more than forty hours a week without overtime pay, neither of which is legal.
The wage and hour lawsuit also alleges Providence had a practice of deducting meal breaks from Brandon’s pay, even when he didn’t take a meal break.
In addition to mandating things like minimum wage and overtime compensation, the FLSA also requires employers to provide their workers with accurate itemized wage statements, detailing all hours worked, wages earned, wages paid, wages withheld and what they were withheld for (health insurance, taxes, etc.). This is to ensure the employer is abiding by all the relevant labor laws, and to provide workers with a record of their time worked and wages earned and paid. The recent wage and hour lawsuit alleges Providence failed to provide Brandon with itemized wage statements.
As if all that weren’t bad enough, Brandon further alleges Providence illegally retaliated against him for reporting safety violations, criminal activity (including forging his signature on a maintenance checklist), and race discrimination. Reporting illegal practices is known as whistleblowing, and under federal law, whistleblowers are protected from retaliation in order to encourage them to “blow the whistle” on their employer.
Providence denies all of the claims and contends it complied with all laws.
The Chicago overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large retail chains such as BJ’s, Jewel, Hienans, Aldi, Smart & Final, Apple, Walgreen’s, CVS, Urban Outfitters, GAP, Abercrombie & Fitch, Limited, Forever 21, Macy’s, Target, JC Penney’s, Lowes, Marshalls, TJ Max, Victoria’s Secret, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Best Buy, Home Depot, Apple, Best Buy, Sears, K Mart, J.C Penney, Walmart, Costco and other retail chains for misclassifying employees as managers, erasing or altering time sheets or time records, pressuring workers not to report or record overtime, failing to pay for time spent on security checks, 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.