The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has been in existence for more than 80 years and has provided important protections to employees. Among those protections are minimum wage and overtime laws with which employers in the United States must comply. Yet, there are some employers who knowingly, and in some cases willingly, violate these laws in order to increase their bottom line. A recent report has shed some light on these important issues.
Report Summarizes the State of Compliance with FLSA Wage and Hour Requirements
It may be reasonable to assume that smaller employers are more likely to misunderstand FLSA requirements and have difficulty understanding what is required for compliance. However, as the report has uncovered, it is more often the large businesses that violate FLSA requirements despite having in-house counsel and an abundance of resources. Since 2000, according to the report, more than one thousand legal actions were successfully brought against large companies for FLSA violations. Those claims resulted in compensation of more than $8.8 billion to the employees who filed those suits.
How Much Has Wage Theft Cost American Workers?
The term “wage theft” refers to a wide array of violations including unpaid overtime, misclassification of employees as independent contractors, forcing employees to work off-the clock, and denying tips to tipped employees. Wage theft has been a concern for lower-wage employees for decades, primarily because they are paid hourly and often do not recognize when their rights are being violated. According to some experts, hourly workers lose more than $50 billion each year and much of that is never recovered. Some suggest that, for a few large businesses, wage theft has become part of their business model, which is regrettable. What Can You Do to Combat Wage Theft? It can be a challenge for most lower-paid workers to take advantage of private litigation in order to recover for lost wages and hold their employers liable for their violations. This is primarily because low-wage employees cannot take the necessary time off to participate in litigation and cannot afford the litigation costs, either. Without consistent enforcement of wage and hour laws, employers often feel free to engage in blatant violations because they do not expect to be held accountable for their actions.
The Basic Provisions of the Fair Labor Standards
Act The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal statute that establishes the minimum wage, overtime pay eligibility, and other pay-related issues in the workforce that apply to full-time and part-time employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. There are many issues that can arise which involve this statute. If you have questions about your rights and your employer’s requirements under the FLSA, let our Birmingham employment attorneys answer those questions for you.
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