Whenever the U.S. economy hits a low point, it is all too common for layoffs to rise. In these situations, the few employees who are left are often required to work longer hours.This may help to increase the employer's profits, but the employees, afraid to lose their jobs, are forced to suffer long hours. Oftentimes, these same employers make every effort to pay as little overtime pay as possible. The result? Overtime violations and class action lawsuits.
United Parcel Service Faces Yet Another Class Action Lawsuit
Despite having already paid millions in unpaid overtime claims, the United Parcel Service (UPS) is facing yet another unpaid overtime lawsuit. This recent case started with a letter carrier, Jerry, who claimed he was working more than 10 hours each week without pay. According to this employee, UPS had a practice of requiring letter carriers to work based on "an evaluated hour system." This system meant that UPS would evaluate how much time each letter carrier should take to complete his or her route, based on a national or regional count of mail. Through a complicated data system, the evaluation supposedly determines the total hours worked during a six-day workweek.
The problem is, when UPS added more stops to an employee's route, he was still expected to get everything done during the same pre-determined period of time. In Jerry's case, UPS nearly doubled the customers on his route. Yet, he was still expected to deliver that mail between 7:30am and 3:15pm. Instead, it normally took him until 6:00 pm to complete his route. When Jerry eventually complained, he was told "[t]hat's just the way it is now and sorry, no overtime."
FLSA Overtime Violations Allegedly Committed by UPS
"Sorry, no overtime," was certainly not the correct response. An employer cannot simply decide not to pay its employees overtime pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), along with various state laws, requires employers to pay hourly employees at least $7.25 per hour for a forty-hour work week. Any time worked in excess of that forty hours must be compensated at one and one half the normal hourly rate – often referred to as "time and a half." Though many employers, possibly including UPS, refuse to pay overtime in order to save costs for the business, violating the FLSA by failing to pay their workers overtime will end up costing these employers even more. Of course, UPS has denied all of these allegations, but this is not the first time they have been brought to court over the matter of overtime pay.
Other Forms of Overtime Violations
In addition to simply refusing to pay the required "time and a half" for overtime work, many employers misclassify their employees to make them exempt from the overtime laws. Employers decide to pay salaries to employees who would normally be paid by the hour in an effort to avoid paying overtime and circumvent the FLSA. Regardless, when employees are not paid the wages to which they are entitled, filing a lawsuit is often the only source of recovery.
If you feel you have been denied the pay to which you are entitled, please contact Wrady Michel & King online or by phone at (205) 265-1880. We are here to discuss your questions concerning employment law in Birmingham and the surrounding areas.