The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides a private cause of action for lost wages for most workers in the United States, including all Ohio employees. It provides a minimum wage for employees and sets a standard for overtime pay. It is located in 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. The Wage and Hour Division (WHD) of the United States Department of Labor (DOL) makes available the full text of the FLSA and also publishes a Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The FLSA, combined with the DOL regulations enforcing it, and the case law interpreting it, is much too complicated to discuss in a single section. But, as an introduction to the statute, it is helpful to remember the purpose of the FLSA, as described in section 202(a). The statute states, in pertinent part, that
“Congress finds…in industries engaged in commerce or in the production of goods…labor conditions detrimental to the maintenance of the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being of workers."
It continues by stating that these sub-minimum standards “lead[ ] to labor disputes burdening and obstructing commerce[.]” 29 U.S.C. § 202(a)(4).
The most common ways an employee's rights under the FLSA are violated involve misclassification: the employer may misclassify you as an FLSA-exempt employee or as an independent contractor, thereby wrongly denying your rights to overtime pay and other protections. Learn more about whether you have been correctly classified under the FLSA on the following informational pages:
Exempt or Not: Am I Protected by the FLSA?
Independent Contractor or Employee?
The FLSA is a humanitarian statute that helps workers earn a living wage. It contributes to the economic strength of the country by eliminating labor disputes that arise when employers depress wages to the point where individuals cannot achieve “a minimum standard of living” according to its terms. It is up to employers to make sure their employment practices meet legal standards. If employers do violate the law, employees are entitled to vindicate their rights in court and make sure their employers do not continue to break the law in the future.
If you think your rights under the FLSA have been violated, contact Scott & Winters Law Firm, LLC to learn more about your rights and how we can help.