It is clearly stated in the Fair Labor Standards Act: employees are entitled to a federal minimum wage and an overtime premium pay of one and a half or 150 percent of their regular pay rate for all hours worked over the typical 40 hours in a workweek.
However, if the rise of lawsuits against employers regarding this is any indication, it would seem that many employers are not complying with the law.
The Rise of Wage and Hour Litigation
According to the annual statistics from United States Courts, since 2000, the rate of wage and hour cases filed has continued to increase, albeit not in a linear fashion. In 2000, the U.S. Courts reported only 1,935 wage and hour cases filed. Since then, that number has risen considerably and from 2012, the number of cases has consistently ranged between 7,500 and 8,781. These numbers are equal to an increase of about 450 percent since 2000.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) was signed into law in 1938 to establish a federal minimum wage, an overtime pay eligibility, recordkeeping, and child labor standards, which affect workers in different sectors.
In California, the Labor Code requires an increase in the state’s minimum wage each year. Today, the minimum wage is $12 per hour for businesses with 26 or more employees. This rate is higher than the current federal minimum wage stated in the FLSA, which is $7.25 per hour.
When employers fail to comply with the federal or state wage and hour laws, they are likely to face class action lawsuits, leading to expensive settlements with workers. But what are employers doing—or not doing—that results in their workers filing for wage and hour suits?
A Greater National Focus on Wages
Laws regarding minimum wage have become a major political issue across the country. The $7.25 federal minimum hourly rate hasn’t changed since 2009 and only 32 states have higher minimum wages than the federal one.
Before the 2016 elections, presidential candidates spoke at length about issues regarding wages. All that talk may have generated a greater awareness about wage and hour policies in employees and employers, alike.
A Proper Guideline on Employee Classification
Misclassification has been a prevalent problem in different industries. This happens when, for tax purposes, companies treat workers more like independent contractors and less like employees. This practice allows employers to evade payroll taxes and proper compensation, minimum wage, and overtime pay for workers.
Employees who have been denied wages may be able to file a class action lawsuit where other employees have similar issues.
Increased Awareness in Employees About Their Right to Sue
Over the years, employees have become increasingly aware of their ability to sue their employees when they think there are missteps in management. This is especially true in their status classifications, hours worked claims, and overtime pay calculations.
The Value of Proper Legal Representation for Employees
According to statistics, the food industry sees the most wage and hour lawsuits. With Los Angeles being the fastest-growing state for food manufacturing, employees here can benefit greatly from proper representation in class action lawsuits with the help of a Los Angeles class action lawyer from Haffner Law.
If you’re on the receiving end of improper wages, no overtime pay, or unfair work hours, you can turn to us for representation. Contact us today at 1-844-HAFFNER (423-3637).