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Wage violations occur in many different occupations in Cleveland and throughout Ohio. Unfortunately, when these wage violations occur, this can leave employees in dire financial straits. At Scott & Winters Law Firm, LLC, our team is dedicated to helping those who have not received proper pay from their employer. Here, we want to review some of the most common wage violations in various occupations throughout our area.
One of the most common violations we see in our practice occurs when servers, waiters, tipped employees, or other restaurant workers either 1) have tips taken from them; 2) are not paid the tipped minimum wage ($4.65 per hour in Ohio plus tips in 2022); or 3) are not paid full minimum wage ($9.30 per hour in Ohio in 2022) once tips are factored in. Another common violation occurs when employers pay only the tipped minimum wage but require considerable amounts of non-tipped work. An especially blatant example of wage theft occurs when restaurant workers have to come in before the restaurant opens or after it closes and works without pay.
Many employees work as landscapers during the warmer months and drive a snowplow during winter months for the same company. We receive complaints from workers for landscaping companies for violations such as 1) failing to pay overtime at 1.5x the regular rate of pay for hours over 40 in a single workweek; 2) failing to pay for all time worked, including early morning meetings; and 3) failing to pay for travel time when working between job sites. Because of the long work hours sometimes required when driving a snowplow after a winter storm, employers may also pay comp time instead of the overtime pay required by law.
Many Ohio establishments employ third-party cleaning companies to perform their janitorial work. But some janitors are not paid for travel time when they drive between job locations. Others are misclassified as independent contractors and paid no overtime pay. Others are not paid for overtime unless that overtime is authorized by a supervisor, even when overtime is required to finish the job.
Hotel and hospitality workers face wage law violations at a surprisingly high rate. Some hotel workers who receive tips are not allowed to keep their tips, or their employer does not properly ensure that the full minimum wage is paid once tips are factored in. Other workers in the hospitality industry do not receive overtime at 1.5x their regular rate of pay by virtue of having their time edited.
In 2015, the law changed. Home healthcare workers who previously did not have the protections of the FLSA were now required to be paid overtime. But even today, some employers don’t pay overtime on time and a half as required by law. Another common violation occurs when home healthcare workers drive between locations during the workday. Often this intraday travel time goes unpaid, but that is a violation of state and federal overtime laws.
Unfortunately, Scott & Winters Law Firm receives many complaints from employees at temp agencies about problems with their pay. In many cases, the law holds that temp agencies are joint employers with the company where the temporary employee actually works. That means the temp agency has legal responsibility for ensuring you are correctly paid under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If, for example, you aren’t paid overtime when your payment is due, you may be able to recover liquidated damages in the amount of or up to or twice the unpaid wages.
Many employees who work in Information Technology (IT for short) believe that because they are well paid, whether hourly or salary, they aren’t owed overtime pay at time and a half. But this is a misconception. Many computers or IT workers are owed overtime pay.
Some service technicians, including plumbers, cable installers, HVAC techs, solar panel installers, and electricians are not paid properly when it comes to overtime. Some service technicians are paid at a day rate or a piece rate, and overtime is not correctly calculated and paid. Others are improperly considered independent contractors. Still, others receive commissions, but the commission payments are not factored into overtime pay as required by law.
The lawyers at Scott & Winters have represented exotic dancers who do not receive overtime pay and also those who are incorrectly labeled as independent contractors. For example, in the case of Gilbo v. Agment, LLC, 831 F.App’x 772, 774 (6th Cir.2020), an appellate court affirmed a decision providing a combined approximately $35,000 to two dancers who were clients of an attorney in our firm.
Many of the largest cable companies use what has been referred to as a fissured employment scheme to pay cable installers. That means they hire other smaller companies who then hire independent contractors as cable installers. Many cable installers work long hours as independent contractors without overtime pay or minimum wage guarantees.
Many pizza delivery drivers are paid improperly because they do not receive minimum wage. This is because employers do not properly factor in the wear and tear on employee vehicles or the cost of gas into employee pay. Many class and collective actions have been filed recently under the laws of Ohio and other states seeking full compensation for pizza delivery drivers.
Although salaried RNs typically do not qualify for overtime pay, LPNs and CNAs usually must be paid overtime at time and a half. Plenty of employers either don’t know the status of the law about overtime pay for LPNs and CNAs or willfully ignore it.
Scott & Winters Law Firm is experienced in representing oil and gas workers in lawsuits under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many oil and gas failed workers are paid improperly when it comes to overtime. Our law firm has seen violations first hand, including 1) failure to pay for all hours worked; 2) failure to pay overtime at time and a half; and 3) improper use of the fluctuating workweek method for overtime pay.
One of the more frequent types of FLSA violations that come through our door involves call center workers. There are two frequent main violations. The first involves “off the clock” work. This unpaid time often occurs at the beginning of shifts when employees start up their computers or log on to their workstations. Another frequent violation involves bonus pay or shift differential pay. These types of pay almost always need to be calculated along with the regular rate and paid as overtime at time and a half. Often, this isn’t done.
Personal bankers, mortgage brokers, and loan underwriters may be misclassified as exempt employees under the administrative exemption or even the executive exemption to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Applying the administrative exemption may be the most complicated area in wage and hour law, but the wage and hour lawyers at Scott & Winters Law Firm can help you navigate its complexity.
Retail employees often work long hours. Common violations for retail workers include time editing and time rounding and misclassification when they are paid a salary with no overtime compensation. If your pay doesn’t quite add up at the end of the week, you may be a victim of time rounding or time editing. Another wage problem occurs when employers require or allow their employees to work during unpaid lunch breaks. Finally, when retail workers receive bonuses, they often are not calculated with the regular rate for the purposes of overtime pay.
Disaster relief workers work some of the longest hours possible as they try to help communities get back on their feet when disaster strikes. Unfortunately, many disaster relief workers are denied overtime pay by being misclassified as independent contractors or paid a day rate for their overtime.
Many courier companies call their driver’s independent contractors, even though they are properly designated as employees. There are also frequent minimum wage violations when the cost of gas and vehicle maintenance is not calculated or included along with the underlying wages.
Wage and hour violations involving construction workers are extremely common. Workers are often paid a day rate, job rate, or piece rate and denied overtime pay. More frequently, construction workers are misclassified as independent contractors and likewise denied minimum wage and overtime protections under the law.
It’s important to remember that just because you have the word manager in your title, you are not necessarily a bona fide exempt employee who doesn’t have to be paid overtime. Many assistant managers work long hours but do not have a primary duty of managing other employees. Often, they do a wide variety of tasks that have nothing to do with management.
If you suspect that your employer has not paid you a fair wage, you need to speak to an attorney immediately. At Scott & Winters Law Firm, LLC, our team is standing by to help ensure that you recover fair compensation. This means that we will stand up to your employer, negotiate to receive all of your unpaid wages, and fully prepare to take your case to trial if necessary. When you need a Cleveland wage violation attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation, and we are always available when you call (216) 912-2221.