In addition to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which protects all employees working in the country, each state has its own labor laws to protect workers within the state. To make sure employers don’t take advantage of their workers, these labor laws regulate things like minimum wage and overtime, but some of them also require companies to be transparent when paying their employees.
California labor law, for example, requires employers to provide their workers with accurate itemized wage statements along with their paychecks. These statements need to accurately define the pay period, the number of hours the employee worked in that pay period, the employee’s hourly wage, total wages paid, and any and all deductions made from the employee’s pay, such as taxes, health insurance, and Social Security.
The law requires employers to provide these wage statements so workers know exactly how much they’re earning and where all their money is going. Employers who do not provide accurate, itemized wage statements may not necessarily be cheating workers out of their hard-earned wages, but failure to provide accurate wage statements makes it more difficult for workers to track how much money they’ve earned and been paid.
In a recent class action lawsuit against Crothall Healthcare Inc. in California, a class of current and former hourly employees allege the company failed to provide its employees with wage statements in accordance with California labor law. As a result of the alleged lack of wage statements, it is allegedly impossible for the employees to be able to tell if Crothall was withholding wages from them, but under California law, they can claim penalties from Crothall for its alleged failure to provide wage statements.
The class action lawsuit was initially filed by Elba M. in October 2015 and alleged Crothall had been engaging in unfair business practices. The plaintiff sought to represent herself and all other current and former hourly nonexempt employees who worked for Crothall in California between October 14, 2013 and December 31, 2014. The lawsuit sought penalties for the missing wage statements, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs associated with filing the lawsuit.
Crothall continues to deny having done anything illegal, but it has agreed to settle the lawsuit for $925,000 in order to avoid the hassle and expense of continuing to fight the legal battle in court.
It is common for class action lawsuits to settle outside of court. The larger the class of plaintiffs, the longer the lawsuit is likely to drag on in the courts due to the exponential amount of evidence required for every additional class member. The longer the courts take to handle the lawsuit, the more attorneys’ fees and legal costs each side racks up. As a result, it’s often easier for everyone to settle the lawsuit as early as possible, rather than risk a lengthy expensive court battle.
The amount awarded to each class member will vary depending on how many paychecks they received in the class period, but the potential award is estimated to be about $26.77 per pay stub, depending on how many potential class member submit a valid claim.
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 Berwyn and Orland Park. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Geneva and Aurora 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.