The U.S. Department of Labor has announced that it is beginning an enforcement initiative in the construction industry in Virginia to ensure that workers’ rights are being protected. The DOL often creates these crackdowns when they find substantial violations in an industry. Virginia allegedly has widespread problems with construction companies misclassifying workers as independent contractors and other illegal methods to sidestep rights guaranteed to employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The agency has launched similar initiatives in Connecticut, Oklahoma, Texas, Guam and other areas.
Since 2008, the DOL’s Richmond office has reportedly conducted 230 investigations of construction industry employers, resulting in the recovery of more than $1.6 million in back wages for about 1,800 employees. The most common violations included failing to pay employees for all hours worked, paying schemes with rates below the federal minimum wage, failing to compensate workers for overtime, and the misclassification of workers to skirt FLSA requirements. As many firms now use subcontractors for certain jobs, these companies try to reduce costs and this often comes at the expense of the wages of employees.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires employers to pay non-exempt employees at least the federal minimum wage (currently $7.25/hour) and overtime pay of one-and-one-half times the regular rate of pay for every hour worked over 40 in a single workweek. States may pass their own overtime laws that go above and beyond the FLSA, including having a higher minimum wage.
Have you been mistreated by your employer? Are you not being fairly compensated for overtime or paid at least the minimum federal and state hourly wage? If so, you may find legal recourse through a wage and hour lawsuit, seeking compensation in the form of back wages for unpaid overtime or underpayment. To find out if you might be eligible, simply fill out the free consultation form on the right.