|August 14, 2014|
The Growing Problem of Unpaid Overtime
Employees are being forced to work longer hours without the benefit of additional compensation. Even though it is against labor law, many employers are managing to get by with it. They find ways to bypass the laws, so it’s essential for employees to know their rights and to keep track of the hours they work.
Don’t Be Afraid to Take Legal Action
One reason employers still get by with failing to pay overtime is that employees are afraid to exercise their rights. They don’t want to speak up because they fear for their jobs, and even though this is also against the law, it’s difficult to prove - especially in work-at-will states (e.g. Texas).
The Federal courts had a record number of lawsuits last year: they heard more than 8,000 cases! Some of the most notable cases and the results of their violations include but are not limited to the following:
- Wal-Mart $85 million
- Staples $80 million
- Wachovia $50 million
- Merrill Lynch $44 million
- JP Morgan $42 million
- Oracle $35 million
- CVS $34 million
- Tyson Foods $32 million
- Lowes $29.5 million
- Ecolab $29 million
- AT&T $29 million
- Perdue $20 million
Timekeeping and Payroll Records
When a person reports a company’s pay violations, there are five primary documents that investigators use when they receive complaints about unpaid overtime:
- List of Earnings Codes.
- List of Deduction Codes.
- Time clock rules (especially important is how the company handles rounding and shifts that cross into another time period).
- A sampling of time records.
- Paystubs or statements or earnings.
Employees need to maintain a copy of their earnings statements as well. This will provide investigators with something to compare in the event of a discrepancy between the company records and employee records. Reviewing the compensation codes which the company use is the best and fastest way to identify any improperly excluded compensation. Reviewing the list of deduction codes can also help investigators identify any problem areas.
Rules of Time Clock Use
Time clock usage can sometimes lead to pay violations with employees who are paid by the hour. The problems that can arise and lead to improper employee compensation include the following:
- Improper rounding such as always rounding down.
- Automatically deducting for meal periods without knowing whether the employee took a lunch break.
- Inequitable rules on employees clocking in early or late.
- Assignment of shift hours that cross two pay periods.
Along with time the above issues, there are certain actions that automatically draw suspicion from investigators such as the following:
- Employees who have the same in and out times nearly every day.
- Employees who sign in and out for lunch/meal breaks every day.
- Lack of in and out times for lunch/meal breaks.
- Punches that show the exact time the shift begins.
- Punches that show almost exactly the same time for all employees (this indicates a strong possibility that one person is doing the time card punches for all employees).
If you believe your employer has deliberately cheated you out of overtime hours you have worked, you need to contact a Dallas unpaid overtime lawyer to collect what is rightfully yours.
Don’t let your employer take advantage of you and your coworkers. Take a stand for what’s right, and for what you deserve.
For more information, visit: http://www.jrlawfirm.com/practice-areas/unpaid-wages/