Although companies are legally prohibited from retaliating against workers that file lawsuits against them, most employees still fear backlash from their employer, if they file a lawsuit. Another big reason workers don’t bring legal action against their employers is they simply aren’t aware of all the rights granted to them by the law.
Keeping track of both state and federal labor laws can get confusing, but it is every employer’s responsibility to make sure they are abiding by all relevant labor laws. For example, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets a minimum wage that employees must be paid. It also defines overtime as all time spent working after eight hours a day and/or forty hours a week.
Under the FLSA, all employees are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly wage for all overtime worked. Some employees can be classified as exempt from overtime, but the FLSA is very specific about the types of employees that can qualify for the exemption.
Most states have similar laws, but they also have additional regulations. California, for example, requires employers to provide all hourly nonexempt workers with regular meal and rest breaks throughout the day. For every four hours of work, an employee is entitled to a paid, uninterrupted rest break of at least ten minutes. For every five hours worked, the employee is entitled to an unpaid, uninterrupted meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, for any reason, she is entitled to one hour’s worth of pay, in addition to all wages earned that day.
A former employee of Sarku Japan has recently filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against the Teriyaki and Sushi chain. He filed the lawsuit on behalf of all current and former employees who worked for the restaurant within the past four years.
According to the lawsuit, the restaurant allegedly failed to pay employees the proper minimum wage, overtime, and prevented them from taking their meal breaks. When employees were not permitted to take a rest or meal break, they allegedly were not properly compensated for the lost break, under California labor law.
The lawsuit further alleges the restaurant failed to pay employees minimum wage (which is higher in California than the federal minimum wage), and failed to pay wages in a timely manner. Under California labor law, employers are required to pay all wages due within 72 hours after the end of the pay period.
If a worker’s employment is terminated, all her wages are due in full no later than 72 hours after her termination. If an employee gives notice of her leave at least 72 hours in advance of termination of her employment, all wages are due upon termination. According to the recent wage and hour class action lawsuit, Sarku Japan allegedly failed to pay their employees’ wages within this time frame.
The FLSA also requires employers to provide all workers with accurate itemized wage statements. These statements must include the worker’s hourly rate of pay, the defined pay period, the number of hours worked by the employee in that pay period, wages paid, and wages withheld. It is also the employer’s responsibility to maintain accurate records of all time worked and wages paid to all employees.
According to the recent wage and hour lawsuit, Sarku Japan allegedly failed to provide accurate itemized wage statements and failed to maintain accurate records. If the plaintiffs succeed in pursuing their claims, failure to maintain these records can mean much higher fines for the defendant. Sarku Japan denies all of the claims and asserts it complied with the law.
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, Cracker Barrel, Outback Steak House, Taco Bell, Burger King, Wendy’s and hotels for mis-classifying 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 Bollingbrook and Jolet. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our West Chicago, Glen Ellyn and Carol Stream 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 mis-classify 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 unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.