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All Press Releases for October 26, 2012 »
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Department of Labor Reports Increase in Wage and Hour Violation Claims

The Department of Labor is holding employers accountable for attempting to short change employees who put in overtime hours.
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    October 26, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Department of Labor Reports Increase in Wage and Hour Violation Claims

A recent report by the Today Show is calling attention to a growing problem: more and more employers are taking advantage of low- and mid-wage workers by avoiding payment of overtime wages. This trend is supported by an increase in lawsuits filed claiming violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

FLSA is designed to ensure workers receive proper compensation, covering a variety of labor protection rights including minimum wages and overtime pay. In many cases, overtime pay is required if a worker puts in more than forty hours in one work week. There are some types of employees that are exempt from this requirement, and employers are increasingly attempting to misclassify employees as exempt.

In 2011, just over 7,000 claims were filed against employers violating this law, many of which focused on the misclassification of employees to avoid paying costly overtime compensation rates.

The number of claims filed as of the summer of 2012 has already surpassed those filed in 2011. As a result, it appears employers are increasingly attempting to avoid properly compensating their employees.

In response to this trend, the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor has increased FLSA enforcement efforts. The Division is stepping up their efforts with a focus on low wage workers who may be unaware of their rights.

This increase in enforcement efforts was highlighted recently in a case involving Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart, the retail mega-giant, was accused of misclassifying employees to avoid paying them overtime wages. The employees filed a lawsuit against the company and won. Wal-Mart agreed to pay almost $5 million in wages and damages.

Settlements like the one with Wal-Mart should make it clear that the Labor Department is holding employers accountable for FLSA violations. As a result, employers should exercise caution in how they classify employees.

Protections Available for Employees

The FLSA is a federal law designed to protect employees from being taken advantage of. Employers found in violation of this law may be required to pay back wages due to employees. Additional penalties including monetary fines may also apply.

In addition to federal protections, safeguards for employees are also available at the state level.

If you believe you did not receive proper compensation or that you have not received overtime pay for work performed, contact an experienced employment law attorney to discuss your legal rights and remedies.

Article provided by Matheson & Matheson, P.L.C.
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