What are Wage and Hour Claims .pdf
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What are Wage and Hour Claims?
A wage and hour claim is an assertion by an employee that their employer has failed to pay
them due wages for the number of hours worked. Employment issues such as harassment and
discrimination were the most common types of employment disputes in the past. But, in recent
years, wage and hour claims or lawsuits have been making up the largest portion of
employment lawsuits filed.
Legal issues involved in wage and hour lawsuits
These cases are often complex and involve multiple legal issues. There's usually a motive or
reason behind the wages and hour dispute, including
Overtime wages and hours
Vacation, medical, and pregnancy leave
Wrongful termination and failure to pay an employee due wages following termination
Discrimination, harassment, and other intentional violations against a worker
Wage garnishment; typically connected with child support and other similar issues
Common lawsuits filed in connection with wage and hour claims
Wage and hour lawsuits are the most common type of employment law disputes. Other common
labor disputes include discrimination and disability claims. Wage and hour lawsuits usually
involve the failure by an employee to pay employees overtime or minimum wage.
Employees can abuse work procedures and claim Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) benefits to
which they're not entitled, but these cases are less common. Generally, most wage and hour
lawsuits involve complaints lodged at employers for a variety of common issues including
Minimum wage. Failure to pay employee minimum wages in compliance with state and
Exemptions. Employees in certain categories are exempt from laws pertaining to
overtime pay, meaning they're not entitled to receive overtime wages. Some employees
erroneously categorize part or all of their staff as exempt when that is not the case.
Other employees do so deliberately to reduce wages, which is illegal.
Actual duties vs. job title. Most provisions in the FLSA are based on the employees'
actual duties and not their job descriptions. Therefore, exemptions are based on duties
performed rather than job titles. Many employers mistakenly base staff members' FLSA
status on their job title.
Working off the clock. Violations of the FLSA also occur because not all businesses
operate on a strict 40-hour work week. Many employees and business operate according
to "alternative weeks," (i.e., 10 hour days or 4-day work weeks). Some employees
exclude business meetings from the logged working hours.
Withholding wages. These wage and hour claims involve employer wrongfully
withholding an employee's wages for illegal reasons such as in retaliation or
Filing a wage and hour claim
In the event that a wage and hour dispute arises, the employee is required to first file a claim
with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the US Department of Labor. The WHD then carries
out an investigation to determine whether the employer has violated the FLSA. The WHD may
enforce penalties against the company if a violation is found. Part of penalties may include
demanding that the company change its labor policies.
In cases where the Department of Labor fails to provide an employee with the appropriate
resolution, the employee can file a private civil lawsuit against their employer. The employee
may be entitled to receive a damages award for back pay and other losses incurred. The law
prohibits an employee from firing an employee who files a wage and hour claim.