Under the laws of most states, employees are entitled to overtime pay at a rate of one and a half times their hourly rate when working more than 40 hours per week. Employees are also entitled to meals and rest breaks and must be properly paid for attending meetings and other off-the-clock tasks required by their employer.

In addition, employers sometimes improperly classify their employees as exempt, by calling them “managers” or “independent contractors,” to prevent those employees from receiving the benefits and overtime to which they are entitled. For instance, an employee who is classified as a “manager” but is required to do non-managerial tasks may be entitled to unpaid overtime.

Employers are required to pay employees at least the minimum wage for every hour worked, even if the employee is willing to work for less. There is a federal minimum wage, but some states, like California, have a higher minimum wage.

Other common violations of workers’ rights include unlawful deductions from paychecks, failing to reimburse for business expenses, and failing to keep accurate payroll and timekeeping records.

Misclassifying Workers In The Gig Economy

Companies operating in the “gig economy,” like Uber, often misclassify their workers as independent contractors when they are really employees. Companies save money when they misclassify employees, since they don’t have to pay independent contractors overtime, or provide meal/rest breaks. In at least one case, the California Labor Commissioner held that an Uber driver was actually an employee and was entitled to overtime, mileage reimbursement and other expenses.

Banding Together

Workers who are subjected to uniform wage and hour violations can join together to bring a collective lawsuit against their employer. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and other federal and state laws can be powerful tools to fight companies that try to take advantage of their employees.

Arbitration Agreements

Some companies try to prevent their employees from taking them to court by utilizing arbitration agreements. These agreements are generally part of your employment agreement, are included in an employee handbook or may be an additional piece of paperwork you may be required to sign. If a possible legal dispute arises between you and your employer, arbitration agreements will force you into a secret arbitration setting, generally presided over by a judge paid for by the employer. In some instances, the arbitration agreement may not be enforceable. However, an attorney should careful review the agreement to determine how to approach a potential case. The attorneys at Andrus Anderson can help review your arbitration agreement at no cost to you. Contact us for a free and confidential consult.

Seeking Help for Wage and Hour Violations

If your employer has misclassified you, is denying you breaks, forcing you to dedicate time to work-related matters off-the-clock, or failing to pay you time-and-a-half when you have worked more than 40 hours a week, you may be entitled to back pay and other legal remedies. It is important to seek legal assistance as soon as possible, as there is a limited amount of time to pursue a lawsuit. Our firm represents both individuals and groups of individuals regarding a variety of wage and hour violations and can help you determine whether you are being fairly compensated at your job. To discuss potential wage and hour violations, or to request more information, click here. We offer a free and confidential consult.