Now that the rules have changed, many previously exempt employees will now make the transition to “new non-exempt." That means millions of employees who were previously ineligible for overtime pay because they were considered exempt under the FLSA will now be required to be paid for their overtime. With that many people newly eligible, the number of claims for violations will certainly increase. In some situations, a collective action lawsuit may be a good method for bringing those claims. Here is what you need to know.
What does the FLSA say about overtime?
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are required to pay overtime to all employees who spend more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week on the job. Every hourly employee, except those who are exempt, are entitled to 1 ½ times their normal hourly wage for the overtime hours that are worked.
The FLSA allows for collective action lawsuits
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 80 percent of employers are committing violations with regard to the wage and hour laws. Many of those employers have a large number of affected employees. For that reason, the FLSA provides a method for bringing collective action lawsuits. A collective action is very similar to a class action which allows for a group of employees’ claims can be brought together. This is a very helpful mechanism for employees who may not otherwise be able to afford litigation.
What is required to bring a collective action under the FLSA?
In order for claims to proceed as a collective action under the FLSA, the employees bringing those claims must be “similarly situated.” In this context, the term means employees who are subjected to the same company policy or plan that deprives employees’ compensation at minimum wage or overtime pay.
How FLSA collective actions are different from class actions
With class actions, potential litigants or class members who fit a specific set of criteria are automatically included in the class action unless they “opt out.” A collective action operates in the opposite manner, where employees who want to participate in the action must “opt in.” This requires signing a document stating affirmatively that you want to proceed with your claims collectively.
If you believe you may have a claim against your employer for unpaid compensation, contact the experienced attorneys at Michel | King . Our firm represents employers in wage and hour cases throughout Alabama, including cases involving unpaid bonuses, commissions, and vacation pay, as well as overtime and minimum wage disputes.
If you feel you have been the victim of discrimination or retaliation in the workplace, or if you have any other questions regarding your employment rights, please contact the experienced employment law attorneys at Michel | King . You can contact us either online or by calling us at (205) 265-1880. We are here to serve you!