Articles Posted in Minimum Wage Violations

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In addition to the federal minimum wage (which is currently still set at $7.25 per hour), each state, county, and city set their own minimum wages and employers are required to pay their workers no less than the highest minimum wage for their area. This remains true no matter how the employees are paid. Whether it’s hourly, by day, by project, on commission, or a salary, every worker is entitled to receive at least minimum wage for all the time they spend working.

According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Life Time Fitness Inc. in Illinois, fitness trainers were paid on commission and allegedly misclassified as exempt from overtime. If they earned less than 1.5 times the minimum wage through their commission, the difference was paid using something the gym called a “draw,” but that amount would be deducted from a later paycheck when the trainer made more than 1.5 times the minimum wage through their commission. These draws were also allegedly applied to their manager’s paycheck.

Instead of encouraging trainers to solicit more business, most managers chose to respond to this financial penalty by cutting corners with the hours of the trainers they supervised. Managers allegedly encouraged their trainers not to clock in until they were actively serving clients and to clock out as soon as they were done servicing clients. All the other tasks trainers were required to do, such as cleaning equipment, conducting fitness tests on prospective clients, and spending time on the gym floor to solicit new business, were allegedly done without pay. Trainers who failed to comply were allegedly fired as a result. Continue reading

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The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was designed to protect all employees working in the United States, regardless of their citizenship status. Now a class of au pairs are claiming their rights under America’s federal and state labor laws were violated by more than a dozen au pair companies based out of several states, including Massachusetts, New York, Utah, and Connecticut.

The class action lawsuit was filed in Colorado federal court in November 2014 by five au pairs from Colombia and South Africa. It alleges the J-1 Visa program, which is run by the U.S. Department of State, has basically become a source of cheap migrant labor for American families.

The wage and hour lawsuit names 15 different au pair companies as defendants, including Cultural Care Inc., Interexchange Inc., American Cultural Exchange LLC, the American Institute for Foreign Study, among others. The lawsuit alleges the companies conspired to keep the au pairs’ wages as low as possible. Continue reading

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The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exists to protect workers from employers who might try to take advantage of them. It regulates things like minimum wage and overtime to try to make sure that employees are properly compensated for all the time they spend performing work for their employer.

In addition to the FLSA, states have their own laws that govern the employees working within the state. This means any employer conducting business in the United States has to be sure to abide by all the relevant state laws, as well as the federal laws. Nevada, for example, requires employers to pay their workers a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour (higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour). Continue reading

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Companies often see advantages to hiring immigrants for menial jobs. They’re usually willing to work for very little money, and immigrants living and working in the United States illegally are usually too afraid to speak out against unfair working conditions.

However, all employees working in the United States are protected under the same labor laws, regardless of their citizenship status. This includes payment of no less than the federal minimum wage (which is currently set at $7.25 per hour), and the proper overtime compensation for all time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all workers are entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime work. Continue reading

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According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), all employers conducting business in the United States are required to pay their workers at least $7.25 per hour. Not all employees are paid by the hour, though. Some of them are paid per shift, per piece, or on commission. However, no matter how they are paid, their total hours worked and wages paid must equal out to at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Nordstrom Inc., the department store allegedly failed to pay its commissioned sales employees the minimum wage as required by law, or the proper overtime compensation when appropriate. Under the FLSA, employers are required to pay one and one-half times an employee’s normal hourly rate for all of the time that the employee spends working after eight hours a day or forty hours in a week. There are some exceptions to this rule, but the Act is very specific about the types of employees that qualify for overtime exemption. Merely labeling an employee as overtime exempt is not sufficient. The law provides specific duties and responsibilities which must be part of a worker’s job in order for that worker to qualify for overtime exemption.

There are three main categories of employees who can be considered exempt from overtime compensation according to the FLSA. The first category consists of administrators. These are employees who perform primarily office work and provide administrative support directly to an executive. The second category is executive and is made up of higher-level employees whose main responsibilities involve managing employees below them. In order to fit into this category, an employee must have the authority to discipline employees and must have significant input into the hiring and firing of employees. Finally, there is the professional category, which covers employees who must have a higher level of education or a specific set of skills in order to perform their jobs. This category includes workers such as doctors, lawyers, and artists. Continue reading

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The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) mandates that all employers have to pay their employees working within the United States at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and pay them one and one half times their normal hourly rate for all time that the employees spend working in excess of eight hours a day or forty hours a week. However, most states have their own labor laws which govern how much employees must be paid and how long they can work. For example, Illinois law requires all employers working within the state to pay their employees at least $8.25 per hour.

California also has labor laws which require employers to provide workers with rest breaks and meal breaks, depending on how long the employee works. For every four hours of work, the employer is required to provide a paid rest break lasting at least ten minutes. For every five hours worked, the employer must provide an unpaid meal break of at least 30 minutes. For every day that an employee does not take one of these breaks, California labor law requires the employer to provide the employee with the equivalent of one hour’s worth of the employee’s wages.

According to a recent overtime class action lawsuit against W Hollywood Hotel, the hotel chain allegedly failed to provide employees with rest breaks and meal breaks on a regular basis. The lawsuit also alleges that employees “would routinely work eight to ten hours a day and nine straight days without a day off” without receiving the proper overtime compensation for the time that they worked in excess of eight hours a day and forty hours a week.

Although the hotels kept time sheets for their employees, the lawsuit alleges that those time sheets do not accurately reflect the amount of time that the employees spent working because managers regularly required them to work off the clock. While donning and doffing work attire is not necessarily compensable time, the plaintiffs of this lawsuit are seeking to be paid for the time that they spent putting on and taking off their work attire, as well as the time that they were required to work off the clock to help other employees.

The lawsuit alleges that these practices have been going on a W Hollywood Hotels for at least the past four years. The class of plaintiffs includes about 150 current and former employees of the hotel chain who worked in housekeeping, welcome, food and beverage, and similar hourly positions in the relevant time period.

Attorneys for the employees are currently looking for evidence to confirm the allegation that the managers of the hotels had policies which required employees to fill out their time sheets incorrectly. In addition to regulating minimum wage and overtime, the FLSA also requires all employers to maintain accurate records of the time that employees spend working and the pay that they earn. Depending on the success of the plaintiffs in court, the hotel chain’s failure to maintain these records can result in hefty fines.

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If someone contracts work through another company which violates labor laws, the client may find itself in a lawsuit along with the company which committed the alleged violations. Such is the case for Ross Dress for Less, a clothing store based in Pleasanton, California. Ross allegedly contracted janitorial services through USM Inc. USM is a subcontractor which hired janitors and janitorial companies to undertake the cleaning services required at 1,000 of Ross’s stores across the country.

The labor lawsuit, brought by three employees who live in Oakland, California, alleges that Ross knowingly and intentionally provided USM with less funding than was required to properly pay enough janitors for all of Ross’s locations. The result, the lawsuit alleges, is what some people refer to as “fly-by-night” enterprises, wherein immigrant labor is used and denied the proper compensation for the work performed. According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, all employees working in the United States are entitled to earn at least minimum wage and to earn the proper overtime compensation of one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for each hour that they work in excess of eight hours a day or forty hours per week.

While the case currently involves only the three plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ lawyers involved in the case are hoping to see it turn into a class action. Class action status would grant the plaintiffs and the affected workers greater opportunity against USM and Ross to achieve fair and proper compensation for all workers. Class action lawsuits allow all victims to obtain compensation. Class action status would also mean that the labor lawsuit would be able to reach a greater number of employees who were allegedly taken advantage of by Ross and USM. Many of these employees may not otherwise come forward to file a claim, whether because they do not think they earned enough to warrant an expensive lawsuit, or because they are simply unaware of the applicable wage and hour laws.

The complaint filed by the plaintiffs alleges that, “Ross knows, or should know that the funds provided to USM under their agreement(s) are not sufficient to allow USM to comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws”.

For the janitors who worked in Ross locations in California, any reduction in wages as a result of under-funding for the janitorial services if proven means a violation in California wage law. Workers who fulfilled janitorial duties at Ross locations in other states are entitled to at least the minimum wage required by the labor laws of that state. According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, all hourly employees in the United States are entitled to be paid at least $7.25 per hour.

The lawsuit alleges that USM failed to provide employees with their paychecks in a timely manner. USM allegedly also failed to provide them with sufficient compensation for the work performed, and failed to pay them the proper overtime compensation when the employees worked more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week.

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Minimum wage can vary from state to state, but the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) applies to all employees working in the United States and it requires that all hourly employees earn no less than $7.25 for every hour that they work. This is for forty hours of work per week and is in addition to any overtime compensation, bonuses, or other monetary incentive the employee may earn. If the employee works more than eight hours in a day or forty hours in a week, then the FLSA mandates that she is entitled to one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay.

In a recent wage and hour lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), not only were hourly employees allegedly denied minimum wage and overtime compensation, but some of them actually earned less than $7.25 per week. The lawsuit alleges that Arriaga Inc., which owns and operates the restaurant Senor Pancho’s in Orville, Ohio, violated the FLSA. The wage and hour lawsuit was filed after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division of the DOL found evidence of violations of the overtime, minimum wage, and record keeping provisions of the FLSA. The DOL’s lawsuit is seeking liquidated damages for the employees as well as an injunction from the court to prevent Arriaga Inc. from ever again violating the FLSA.

According to the FLSA, an employer may pay their tipped employees less than minimum wage, but only if the employee earns at least minimum wage through a combination of their tips and wages. If, once tips have been accounted for, the employee has earned less than minimum wage, then the employer is required to make up the balance in the employee’s paycheck. The DOL’s investigations found that, at Senor Pancho’s, tipped employees, such as servers, frequently relied on the tips they received from patrons for all of their pay for the work that they did.

The restaurant also allegedly failed to maintain adequate records of the employees’ hours, dating back at least a year, and did not pay any of the employees the proper overtime compensation when they worked in excess of eight hours in a day or forty hours in a week. The FLSA requires employers to maintain accurate records of all the hours their employees work, as well as all pay received by the employees, for at least three years. Failure to maintain these records is sufficient proof that the employer violated the FLSA knowingly and intentionally which, in certain courts, can result in a much higher fine for the defendant.

Some of the kitchen staff at the restaurant allegedly managed to escape the wage mistreatment by receiving a salary, as opposed to an hourly wage. However, many employees were allegedly misclassified as exempt from overtime compensation and either did not receive paychecks or the paychecks they were given bounced.

The wage and hour lawsuit filed by the DOL alleges that the restaurant owes at least $272,000 in unpaid wages to 34 employees. If the wage and hour lawsuit rules in the DOL’s favor, Arriaga Inc. could be required to pay $272,000 in back wages in addition to $272,000 in liquidated damages. All of this money will be paid directly to the employees.

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Along with making sure everyone is paid fair wages, comes the responsibility of making sure that continues, even (or especially) when the laborers have a disability. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a lawsuit against Henry’s Turkey Service in Goldthwaite, Texas. The company profited for decades by supplying mentally disabled workers to a turkey plant in Iowa. The men were allegedly paid only 41 cents per hour, even if they worked more than 40 hours a week, and their wages never changed over the three decades that they worked there.

Some of the men lived in a dilapidated bunkhouse a few miles from the factory. The company paid $600 a month for the building, yet the laborers were allegedly charged more than $1,000 per month from their wages, in addition to hundreds of dollars from their Social Security checks, supposedly to pay for their room and board. The building was shut down in 2009 after an investigation allegedly found substandard construction, unsafe living conditions, a leaky roof, and insect infestation.

In addition to the poor working conditions, the lawsuit alleges that the employees faced a hostile work environment, harassment, verbal and physical abuse, and other “adverse terms and conditions of employment.”

A federal judge recently ruled that, although the laborers were intellectually disabled, they did their jobs as well as anyone without a disability and testimony showed that they even helped train their replacements. Therefore, there is no reason the men should not have earned at least minimum wage.

Although these conditions persisted for thirty years, the law limits the wages the men can reclaim to the past two years of their employment with Henry’s Turkey Service. The judge has ordered Henry’s Turkey Service to pay $1.37 million in back wages, which amounts to what the men would have earned over a period of two years, had they been paid fair wages.

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