Unpaid Overtime, Wage & Hour Class Actions
Workers who are classified as nonexempt under state and federal wage laws have rights to overtime compensation and paid break time. Employers may try to avoid payment of overtime wages through alternative forms of compensation, but these generally violate the law and give employees the right to pursue remedies in court. Federal and state laws also require employers to give employees a certain amount of break time and meal time based on the length of an employee’s shift. If an employer engages in a widespread practice of violating overtime or break time laws in a way that affects a large number of its employees, those employees may be able to bring a class action lawsuit. An employee claiming an overtime or break time violation can assert grounds for certifying a class of employees with similar legal claims. The Chicago wage law lawyers at Nationwide Consumer Rights have assisted employees around the country with compensation claims against employers.Overtime Compensation, Wage, and Hour Laws
Laws like the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) require payment of a minimum wage, as well as payment of time-and-a-half to nonexempt employees who work more than forty hours during a week. Employers may not substitute other forms of compensation for time-and-a-half pay. An employee who receives a wage of $10 per hour, therefore, must receive $15 per hour for overtime. Time spent at work, or performing tasks required by the employer, must be included in the calculation of time for which an employee gets paid.
The Department of Labor and many state labor agencies also require many employers to provide paid break time and meal time for employees. A common guideline is a requirement of two fifteen-minute breaks and one thirty-minute meal for employees who work at least seven hours, as well as reasonable accommodations for employees during those breaks. Accommodations may include seating, tables, and drinking waterUnpaid Overtime and Break Time Violations
Violations of overtime and break time laws may include:
- Unpaid time spent changing into or out of a uniform or other gear required by the employer, sometimes known as “donning and doffing” time;
- Assignment of job duties during break periods;
- Requiring employees to clock out during break periods;
- Offering alternatives to time-and-a-half pay for time worked in excess of forty hours per week, including comp time; and
- Misclassifying a nonexempt employee as an exempt employee or independent contractor.
When employers engage in widespread violations of wage, hour, and overtime laws, employees often feel that they are powerless to fight back. Many individuals lack the resources to pursue a lawsuit against an employer, which is often a large company with the means to mount an intimidating defense. Class action lawsuits allow individual employees with similar grievances to join forces and present their claims together in a single lawsuit.
The Chicago wage law attorneys of Nationwide Consumer Rights have decades of experience in class action litigation asserting the rights of employees and consumers all over the country. We are committed to fighting for the rights of employees who have endured violations of wage and hour laws, overtime pay laws, and other employee protection statutes. To schedule a free and confidential consultation with a wage law lawyer in the Chicago area, contact us today online or at (630) 333-0000.