When the Great Recession hit the economy hard, it became common to hear of full time workers being made to work more than 40 hours a week without the proper overtime compensation. Now that the economy has begun to recover, the courts have seen a dramatic increase in wage and hour lawsuits from employees who are no longer afraid to speak out against their employers. In addition to full time workers, though, part time workers have also been made to feel the strain of the tough economy. Recently, Greg and Cathy Villalobos filed a class action wage and hour lawsuit against the campground they had agreed to work for part time.
The couple had retired and were looking for some part time work to supplement their Social Security checks. They were initially hired by California Land Management in Palo Alto, California, a company that manages federal parks. According to Greg, “We were only hired to take care of the campground – check the campers in, collect their money and clean up after they leave.” They were also given a campsite to live at so they could take care of the campground.
The couple alleges that California Land Management had promised them that they only had to work 30 hours per week at the most. Everything went fine for about a week, but then the couple were allegedly made to work more than 40 hours a week. If they clocked more than 40 hours a week, the manager allegedly refused to accept their time cards.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to maintain accurate records of all time worked by employees. If plaintiffs in a wage and hour lawsuit can prove that the defendant failed to do so, they can use that as evidence that the wage and hour violations were conducted willfully and intentionally. The result can mean hefty fines for the defendant and a potentially much larger award for the plaintiffs, if the court rules in favor of the plaintiffs. Continue reading