Articles Tagged with Wage and Hour attorney

Mistreatment of immigrant employees unfortunately happens all too often, as some employers take advantage of workers’ lack of English skills and fear of potential deportation. Holding these firms accountable for such discrimination is a primary goal of our L.A. employment discrimination lawyers. employment discrimination

One’s immigration status or language skills should have no bearing on the way a company treats its workers.

Recently in Illinois, two restaurants and an employment agency were ordered to pay nearly $215,000 in back wages and penalties to a number of immigrant workers who were both mistreated and underpaid. Defendants in the matter – a sushi restaurant, a hibachi restaurant and an employment agency in Chinatown – are all expected to abide the consent decree. A judge will be in charge of overseeing the execution of the settlement, which partly requires the businesses to make a notable change in their employment practices.  Continue reading

An exotic dancer wishing to pursue a class action wage-and-hour lawsuit against her former employer will not be compelled to arbitrate her claim – despite previously signing an arbitration agreement prior to employment.wage and hour lawyer

According to the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the arbitration clause plaintiff signed is not applicable to a proposed class action that asserts the strip club employer misclassified dancers as independent contractors rather than employees. In a unanimous ruling, justices determined the agreement was only applicable for claims that arose under her employment agreement – not statutory claims such as a wage-and-hour lawsuit.

Misclassification of workers is a serious and ongoing problem, leading to workers being underpaid and denied many important benefits of employment. Misclassification involves the practice of labeling workers as independent contractors, as opposed to employees. The benefit for employers with this, as noted by the National Conference of State Legislatures, is they avoid paying unemployment and other taxes on workers, and also from covering them on workers’ compensation insurance and unemployment insurance.  Continue reading

A wage-and-hour lawsuit filed in Texas by a nurse at a large hospital alleges the health system docks the pay of nurses each shift for 30 minutes, but they aren’t actually allowed a 30-minute meal break. Instead, nurses are expected to remain on duty for the duration of their shift. nurse

According to the Houston Chronicle, plaintiff is seeking class-action status for her and 4,000 other nurses who she says should be paid for the time they spend with patients on “phantom” lunch breaks. The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Houston. Plaintiff asserts the hospital system’s payroll program automatically takes out 30 minutes for meal periods every shift, even though nurses don’t actually get 30 minutes uninterrupted in any given shift. Instead, nurses have to be available the entire shift to care for and attend to patients.

In California, the Department of Industrial Relations holds that companies can’t force an employee to work more than five hours in a given day without providing the worker meal breaks of at least 30 minutes. The only exception is if the worker’s entire work day is no more than six hours. In that case, the meal break can be waived – but only if both the employer and employee mutually consent to it. Further, workers are entitled to a second, 30-minute meal break after 10 hours, except if the employee is going to be working no more than 12 hours and there is mutual consent from both employee and company. (Some variations exist within the motion picture industry.) Continue reading

A federal district court was mistaken in granting summary judgment to manufacturer DuPont in a dispute regarding employee overtime claims, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In Smiley v. El DuPont de Nemours & Co., the appellate panel ruled the company can’t use the compensation it gave workers for meal breaks (which it was not required to do) as an offset for overtime compensation due. worker

This was true even though the meal break pay during the 12-hour shift often exceeded the 30-to-60 minutes for which workers weren’t paid for donning/ doffing their uniforms and protective gear and conducting “shift relief,” that involved incoming and outgoing workers to share information about the status of the work. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) doesn’t authorize this kind of offsetting for overtime compensation, the court ruled, citing its 2005 precedential holding in Wheeler v. Hampton Twp. In that case, the court held that offsetting overtime pay is confined to situations in which employers are paying “extra compensation” at the premium rate of 1.5 times the regular hourly.

According to court records, employees at the plant routinely worked 12-hour shifts. They were required to be on site for a period of time before and after each shift in order to participate in “shift relief” and to don and doff their protective gear and uniforms. Typically in total this took a half hour to an hour. Continue reading

Somewhere between 1 and 3 million workers migrate from various locations across the world – usually Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean – to work as laborers in U.S. farms. farms

Vital as these workers are to the labor force, they are often mistreated, underpaid and sometimes even abused. Employers sometimes use threats and intimidation to silence these workers from reporting workplace injuries, wage theft violations and sexual abuse.

Although these workers aren’t the only labor force to suffer from a concept known as “misclassification,” they certainly are subjected to it quite often.

Misclassification refers to an illegal practice by employers of classifying workers as “independent contractors” rather than “employees” to evade paying workers’ compensation insurance premiums, benefits, certain taxes and fair wages. Continue reading