An unfortunate number of workers around the nation have had to endure unpaid overtime, where employers neglect to pay them for overtime that they worked. Unpaid overtime and other wage and hour violations have been reportedly increasing, as have the number of suits lodged to counter them.
Report asserts unpaid overtime violations increasing
A recent report drafted by Seyfarth Shaw, a law firm, asserts that wage and hour violations, or at least the number of complaints filed against employers alleging them, is going through the roof, according to the Huffington Post. Wage and hour violations suits are often brought under the auspices of the Fair Labor Standard Act and typical claims allege worker reclassification, such as re-classifying an employee as part-time, and unpaid overtime or miscalculated overtime pay, among other ways some employers cheat employees out of money earned.
Seyfarth, using federal court data, found that the number of wage and hour complaints filed against employers increased from 1,457 in 1993 to 2,035 in 2002, according to MSNBC, reaching 7,006 in 2011. That represented, according to CNN, a 400 percent increase.
As of the middle of this month, 7,064 have been filed, according to MSNBC.
Low-wage workers at greatest risk
Workers in low-wage occupations, such as food service and retail, are at the greatest risk for unpaid overtime and other types of wage theft. According to the New York Times, a study by researchers from City University of New York, the University of Illinois and UCLA, found 68 percent of low-wage workers had been victims of a wage violation in the week previous to the survey. Of those who had worked overtime, 76 percent hadn’t been paid for it or hadn’t been paid for their full amount of overtime. The median wage of the surveyed workers in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles was $8.02 per hour.
A National Employment Law Project study, according to the Huffington Post, found similarly in a survey of low-wage workers in New York City that 77 percent of workers surveyed that worked more than 40 hours per week weren’t paid for their overtime. For workers working more than 10 hours per day, it was 93 percent.
Huge firms among usual suspects
Some of the biggest offenders are some of the largest firms.
Walmart is constantly involved in lawsuits over wage and hour violations, especially over unpaid overtime. According to Fox News, Walmart settled an unpaid overtime class-action suit in May for $4.8 million. In 2009, according to CBS, there were 39 pending class-action suits against Walmart alleging wage and hour violations in 30 states.
Taco Bell, according to the Huffington Post, was sued that month for forcing workers to work off the clock.
Internationally renowned pop singer Celine Dion, according to Yahoo News, is currently being sued for unpaid overtime by an employee, who alleges the singer and her husband tried to reclassify him as an exempt employee. Her heart will undoubtedly go on if she loses the suit.
New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/02/us/02wage.html?_r=1
Fox News :http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/01/wal-mart-to-pay-48m-for-overtime-violations/
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/wage-hour-lawsuits_n_1556484.html
Yahoo News: http://music.yahoo.com/news/celine-dion-sued-employee-overtime-violations-183913699.html