More employees are suing their employers for violations of federal and state labor laws since the economic downturn. According to USA Today, the number of lawsuits filed last year was up 32% vs. 2008. These labor laws guarantee important rights for employees that cover professions ranging from construction workers to strippers to restaurant employees. Factors that have been assumed to be a factor are the squeeze provided by the economic downturn, several high-profile overtime and wage lawsuits, the easier dissemination of information with smartphones and the internet, and a deepened focus by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to crackdown on these improprieties.
MSNBC reports that overtime cases taken by the DOL rose from from 8,788 cases and about $107 million in wages in 2010 to around 11,990 with a collection of about $140 million in overtime wages in 2010. In addition, wage lawsuits filed in federal courts rose 15 percent in 2011 and have jumped 325 percent since 2000. Some think that the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is outdated and that the modern age has made it difficult to enforce some of its guarantees.
The Fair Labor Standards Act is federal legislation that sets minimum standards for overtime pay, minimum wage, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards. The FLSA requires employers to pay one-and-one-half times the standard rate of pay for every hour worked over 40 hours in a single workweek and to pay every non-exempt employee at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The FLSA also says that employers must keep detailed records on work time and pay.
Many employees are often denied overtime pay, the minimum hourly wage, and other labor law guarantees; and this has caused a growing number of workers to fight back against their employers by filing wage lawsuits. If you believe that you have been misclassified or otherwise wrongly withheld pay for overtime or the minimum wage, you may be eligible to enter a lawsuit to recover this pay. Contact an experienced overtime lawyer to see if you could possibly receive compensation for back pay.