In the challenging economy, companies are looking for efficiencies that benefit the bottom line. In some cases, this means existing workers have even more duties especially when companies are hesitant to hire new employees.
This can create an incentive to classify workers as exempt (or pay workers a yearly salary) so that they do not receive overtime for additional work. When workers are improperly classified, they might not receive adequate pay for their actual overtime hours.
According to a study released by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, between March 2011 and 2012, the number of wage-and-hour disputes filed by employees skyrocketed to more than 7,000 cases. In fact, the study reveals that these kinds of lawsuits have steadily been on the rise over the last decade. In 2000, by contrast, there were only 1,854 wage-and-hour cases filed by workers.
Common Reasons for Wage-and-Hour Lawsuits
The following are some of the common violations of labor laws that may underpin a wage-and-hour lawsuit.
- Failure to pay overtime – where a worker entitled to overtime pay does not receive the proper overtime wages owed. Many of these cases arise because a disagreement exists over what constitutes work time. Technology has made it more common for workers to perform work duties outside of the office, there is often confusion about whether work-related e-mails and phone calls count toward work time.
- Overtime improperly calculated – employers do not always compute overtime correctly. When an employer does pay overtime, they may fail to include bonuses and differentials in these calculations.
- Improper classification – wage-and-hour lawsuits are often filed because workers are misclassified as exempt – which means that they are not entitled to overtime pay – when they are actually non-exempt workers.
According to employment law experts, many companies do not intend to cheat their workers out of the pay they deserve. In many cases, especially with small businesses, managers simply do not know the laws because they do not have human resource experts on staff to educate them.
Denied Wages: What Can You Do?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, non-exempt workers have the right to receive time-and-a-half overtime pay when they put in more than forty hours of work in a workweek. Generally, the law defines whether or not you are exempt based on your job duties and the amount that you are paid. This can be a complicated analysis and a New York City wage theft attorney can help to determine whether your position is classified correctly.
If you believe that your employer has miscalculated your wages, consult a New York City attorney to help you get the compensation that you deserve. A lawyer with experience in employment cases can explain the best avenue to seek unpaid wages and assist you with obtaining the wages you rightfully earned.