Published on:

Paying for Work Piece by Piece Violates Overtime and Minimum Wage Laws


You may think that paying employees by the number of garments they make (“piecework”) died at the beginning of the twentieth century but that turns out not to be the case. Despite the federal requirements for paying employees either a salary or by the hour, some garment companies are still paying their employees by the piece.

The most recent company to come under scrutiny for this illegal employment practice is O & K Apparel Inc. The company was recently ordered by Julie Su, the California Labor Commissioner, to pay $113,000 to its 110 employees in overtime wages. Additionally, the company is to pay $61,450 in penalties and $307,250 for issuing improper itemized/deduction statements.

California labor code requires garment manufacturers to provide accurate itemized statements showing total hours worked by the employee. If the employee is paid by the piece, then the statement must reflect both the number of pieces produced as well as the total number of hours worked.

Labor Commissioner Su said in a statement, “Piece rate payment cannot be used as an end-run around the basic requirement that all workers … receive a just day’s pay for a hard day’s work, including overtime pay for overtime hours worked. In addition, California law requires itemized wage statements so employees know how much they worked and what they earned. In this case, the pay stubs did not include any of that information, which makes it hard for workers to know when their wages are being stolen right out from under them.”

City Wide Insulation of Madison and Walmart are also among the companies that have come under fire for allegedly illegally paying their employers by the piece and refusing to pay overtime. City Wide Insulation was made to pay about $19,000 to each of its employees and the Walmart lawsuit is still pending. Hopefully, with more lawsuits like these, the era of employees being paid piecework will truly come to an end.

The Illinois overtime and FLSA attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against Banks and real-estate companies for misclassifying appraisers or loan officers as managers, 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 this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.

The Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience fighting for wage earner’s rights. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and prosecute claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Oak Lawn and Evergreen Park. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, McHenry Kane and Cook Counties.

Our Hoffman Estates and Rolling Meadows 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 misclassify 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 not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.v