Articles Posted in Overtime

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As companies have drastically increased their use of arbitration agreements in their employment contracts, workers have increasingly challenged those contractual provisions. Many courts have consistently struck down such agreements as unenforceable because they restrict an employee’s right to due process by denying them access to the court system in the event that they have a dispute with their employer.

On the other hand, other courts have upheld questionable arbitration agreements, so it was only a matter of time before the U.S. Supreme Court was going to hear a case on a matter that has increasingly impacted workers all over the country. Our courts need a decision from the top court in the country to guide them, so they can all start ruling consistently on this important matter.

That day is near as the U.S. Supreme Court is currently hearing three cases, all of which deal with the question of whether companies should be allowed to include arbitration agreements in their employment contracts.

Amidst the legal debate comes a study whose results will not be surprising to employee advocacy groups across the country: According to a recent survey conducted by Alexander Colvin, a professor at Cornell University, 59.1% of African-American workers, 57.6% of female workers, and 53.5% of male workers are working under employment contracts that include arbitration agreements. Continue reading

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Although the Department of Labor (DOL) is not a governing body, it is a government agency that has been charged with protecting American workers from employers who might try to take advantage of them. Because it is not part of the legislative branch of government, the DOL cannot make laws, but it can make rules. But a question that often arises is whether those rules are enforceable.

The specific rule in question this time is one in which the DOL raised the minimum salary a worker must be paid before they can qualify for the overtime exemption under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA put the salary limit at $23,660 per year, but that was more than ten years ago, and under the Obama administration, the DOL more than doubled it to $47,476 per year.

The new rule faced massive opposition from 21 states and numerous business groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which filed a lawsuit against the DOL, claiming the department did not have the authority to either create or enforce such rules. The rule was supposed to go into effect on December 1, 2016, but the week before, a federal judge filed an injunction against the rule.

The injunction was meant to be a temporary measure by which the court could gain more time to consider the dispute. But since the court still has not reached a final decision on the matter, what are employers supposed to do in the meantime? Continue reading

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According to four lead plaintiffs in a newly-certified collective action wage and hour lawsuit against PNC Bank NA, the bank allegedly promised mortgage loan officers a salary of $24,000 per year – an amount they claim was supposed to be based on a 40-hour work week. But according to the lawsuit, more often than not, the mortgage loan officers worked well over forty hours a week, and yet they were allegedly never paid for the additional hours they worked.

According to the overtime lawsuit, many current and former employees who worked as mortgage loan officers for PNC allegedly worked well over 40 hours a week and often took work home in order to get caught up. Despite these additional hours, the collective action lawsuit alleges PNC deliberately failed to properly keep track of all the hours worked by its mortgage loan officers, and as a result, failed to properly compensate them for all the time they spent working.

The wage and hour lawsuit further alleges that PNC made its branch managers complicit in the illegal denial of wages and failure to record all the hours the mortgage loan officers worked. According to the complaint, PNC would allegedly deduct wages from the managers’ pay based on the amount of overtime that was paid to mortgage loan officers who worked under them. Continue reading

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California has a reputation for being one of the most employee-friendly states largely because of the extensive protection it offers to employees working in the state, most of which go above and beyond the requirements of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

In addition to a higher minimum wage and strict overtime regulations, California labor law requires employers to provide all their hourly workers with regular meal and rest breaks throughout the day. Under the law, all hourly employees are entitled to one paid, uninterrupted rest break lasting at least ten minutes for every four hours they spend working. For every five hours of work, employees are entitled to one unpaid, uninterrupted meal break lasting at least half an hour. For every day an employee does not take one of these breaks, or a break is interrupted, the employee is entitled to one hour’s worth of wages, in addition to all wages, tips, bonuses, etc. earned that day.

California also protects former employees by requiring businesses to pay all their workers in a timely manner upon or after termination of employment. Under the relevant labor law, all wages earned must be paid within 72 hours of termination of employment. If an employee provides notice at least 72 hours prior to termination, then all wages are due upon termination.

According to a recent wage and hour class action lawsuit against Trustaff Travel Nurses LLC, the temp-worker company allegedly violated various California labor laws by failing to provide meal and rest periods and failing to pay all wages earned upon termination. Trustaff also allegedly violated the FLSA by failing to pay nurses the proper overtime rate and failing to provide accurate, itemized wage statements along with their paychecks. Continue reading

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Employers have a few different options when it comes to how they pay their employees. Although the standard annual salary and hourly wage are the most common and well-known forms of payment, other options include paying employees on commission or on a per-day or per-project basis.

Regardless of how employers pay their workers, there are various federal and local labor laws they need to be sure to obey.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay their workers a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, or more if the local minimum wage is higher. The FLSA also defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. By law, employers are required to pay all their nonexempt, hourly workers one and one-half times their normal hourly wage for all the overtime they spend working. Continue reading

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Scheduling employees for shifts and using a time card system so they can punch in when they begin work and punch out right before they leave is a perfectly valid method of tracking the amount of time workers spend on the job, but only if the timecards are used properly.

According to a recent proposed class action wage and hour lawsuit against American Airlines, the largest airline company in the world, the company allegedly manipulated its time card system to cheat employees out of earned wages. The proposed class action was filed by two current employees of American Airlines on behalf of all employees who work as clerks for the huge airline. Clerks are responsible for loading baggage onto departing planes and unloading baggage from arriving planes, operating towlines to pull aircraft into and out of hangars, in addition to other duties related to departure and arrival. None of these responsibilities allegedly qualify them for the overtime exemption provided by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which means they are entitled to receive one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all the overtime they work. Continue reading

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Retail chains all over the country have been hit with wage and hour class action lawsuits from employees alleging they should be paid for the time they’re made to spend waiting in line to have a manager check their bags for stolen merchandise before they can leave. Different courts have provided different rulings on this issue, making it difficult for the parties to predict which side the court will favor.

In 2014, two Coach employees, Eve M. and Lou A., filed separate wage and hour lawsuits against the luxury retailer for allegedly refusing to pay them for the time they spent waiting for a manager to complete the security check. The lawsuit alleges employees sometimes had to wait as long as half an hour before the check was completed and they were allowed to leave.

The lawsuits were filed in California and the courts combined the two complaints into one class action. The plaintiffs claim the class could include as many as 4,000 full-time and part-time sales associates who worked in Coach stores all over California any time between March 20, 2010 and May 3, 2016 and were affected by the alleged security checks. Based on these numbers, the plaintiffs filed for claims of $7.25 million. Continue reading

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The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the minimum wage as $7.25 per hour, but that doesn’t mean employers necessarily have to pay their workers on an hourly basis. Employees can be paid a salary, per job, by the hour, or by the day, as long as the wages they are paid, divided by the hours they work, amounts to no less than the legal minimum wage. States and cities also have their own labor laws regulating things like minimum wage and overtime, so anyone conducting business in the U.S. has to make sure they’re abiding by all the relevant local and federal labor laws.

The FLSA also defines overtime as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week and requires employers to pay their nonexempt workers one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay for all overtime worked.

According to a recent wage and hour lawsuit filed against Quality Integrated Services, Inc., the company paid its pipeline inspectors a daily rate, which allegedly did not take into account all the hours they worked, including overtime. Continue reading

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Jobs in fast food chains have earned a reputation for being some of the least desirable jobs on the market. They can often be thankless jobs that pay minimum wage and the situation only gets worse if the employees are made to work overtime without proper compensation.

Unfortunately, certain unscrupulous fast food chain restaurants (or at least their franchise owners) have also earned a reputation for avoiding paying their employees overtime. The allegations include everything from misclassifying employees as exempt from overtime to tampering with time cards.

According to a recent class action wage and hour lawsuit against Bravo Foods LLC, a Taco Bell franchise owner, the company allegedly made changes and/or deletions to its workers’ time records in order to avoid paying them overtime.

Bravo Foods owns Taco Bell restaurants in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia, as well as Orlando, Florida. The lawsuit was filed in a U.S. District Court of Florida by Cory Wise, a former employee who worked at one of the Taco Bell locations in Orlando from August 2014 until April 2015.

Wise was hired as an hourly, non-exempt employee, yet he alleges he has never been paid for the hours of overtime he alleges he was regularly required to work. Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), overtime is defined as any time spent working after eight hours a day or forty hours a week. The FLSA requires all non-exempt workers to be paid one and one-half times their normal hourly rate for all overtime they spend working. Continue reading

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When a group of plaintiffs file a class action lawsuit, the class needs to be defined. If the judge is not comfortable with the parameters of the class as laid out by the plaintiffs, the judge can deny class certification until the plaintiffs come back with parameters the judge agrees with.

In the case of the class action lawsuit against Uber, the judge eliminated two groups of drivers from the class: those who were hired for Uber through a limo service and those who signed up to drive for Uber using corporate or fictitious names. The judge deemed the claims of these drivers to be too different from the claims of the drivers who signed up as drivers for Uber under their own names to justify allowing them to join the class. Part of the judge’s reasoning for this was that Uber was not technically the employer of these drivers – the third party Uber used to hire the drivers was the legal employer of these drivers. Continue reading