The number of unpaid hour claims has increased dramatically in recent years. In the wake of the 2008 recession, many workers are taking legal action against their employers for wage and hour violations and wage theft. It is in an employer's best interest to comply with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to avoid becoming vulnerable to costly lawsuits. To avoid litigation and minimize risk, contact an attorney at Mays & Kerr to discuss your situation.Work from Home
The increased connectivity that technology provides has blurred the line between work time and free time for many workers. Many employees receive work emails on their smartphones or laptops, causing them to feel tied down by work even while they are off duty or on vacation. Although this technology has allowed employees to pursue privileges such as telecommuting and flexible hours, it has also made it difficult to determine when an employee is working.Work during Deducted Breaks
Under the FLSA, an employee enjoying an unpaid break must not have any work responsibilities during the break time. An employer must compensate an employee who performs work during an unpaid break.Unpaid Overtime
Many employers responded to the recent economic recession by cutting costs. In some organizations, "cutting costs" meant deliberately misclassifying employees to avoid paying overtime or implementing informal policies to discourage employees from claiming overtime pay.
Under the FLSA, employees are entitled to overtime pay that equals 1.5 times their hourly rate. Employers who fail to offer overtime pay to their employees may be required to not only pay back the unpaid overtime compensation but may also be subject to punitive fees.Misclassification
Employees may attempt to avoid overtime pay by giving employees managerial titles, even though the FLSA explicitly requires an employee to have very specific managerial duties before an employer may classify the employee as exempt from overtime pay. These cost-saving measures include reclassifying salaried employees as hourly employees, allowing employers to pay a lower wage.Pre-Shift and Post-Shift Work
Other employees file lawsuits because they are required to report to work before their shift begins in order to prepare themselves for the workday. Similarly, some employers require employees to remain at work after their shifts to fulfill some end-of-day responsibilities. Although these infractions seem minor, they can amount to significant losses in required wages or overtime.On-Call Shifts
The FLSA provides protections to workers who are required to be on call. Whether on-call time should be paid or unpaid is determined on a case-by-case basis. Generally, if employees are able to use on-call time for their own purposes, the time will be unpaid. However, this rule becomes more complicated if the employer imposes certain restrictions on its on-call employees.Travel Time
If an employee is required to engage in work-related travel during business hours, the employer is required to pay the employee for travel time. The FLSA provides extra protections for workers who travel away from home.Contact the Attorneys at Mays & Kerr
Because the FLSA provisions related to unpaid hours are complex, it is wise to work with a lawyer when developing your employment policies. At Mays & Kerr, each case receives the attention of our entire team of attorneys. This collaborative approach allows us to examine every angle of a case and develop a strategy that will be most effective for a client's unique situation.